The City of Beverly Hills has begun informing residents this week that a percentage of the samples of city drinking water taken in December 2012 contained bacteria that was slightly higher than state standards, but that subsequent tests show the city’s water supply is safe.
Some residents in West Hollywood served by the Water Services Division of Beverly Hills are also being notified.
California’s standard for the coliform bacteria found in Beverly Hills water is no more than 5 percent of the samples collected. In December, 6.82 percent of the samples from the city’s water were found to contain coliform, which is generally non-harmful, according to Beverly Hills Public Information Manager Therese Kosterman.
State law requires cities to notify residents anytime contaminated water samples exceed state standards, Kosterman said. Beverly Hills city staff members, however, were unaware of this requirement until the California Department of Public Health informed them about the issue of contaminated samples on March 6, Kosterman added.
A laboratory that routinely tests the city’s water supply sent the information to the state’s public health department, Kosterman explained.
Beverly Hills water customers are now being notified directly by mail as well as through the media and on the city’s official website.
Although Coliform bacteria are abundant in the environment and are generally benign, infants, some elderly people, and those who suffer from severe immune systems disorders are encouraged to seek medical consultation about possible risks if they have been exposed to unduly high levels of the bacteria, Kosterman said.
Coliform is routinely tested because its presence may indicate faulty water delivery systems, which might introduce more harmful bacteria such as the potentially deadly E. coli.
The City of Beverly Hills immediately arranged for further testing after the coliform bacteria samples were initially discovered, in December, Kosterman said. The additional tests were negative for both coliform and any other type of bacteria.
Beverly Hills gets about 90 percent of its water from the Metropolitan Water District, a consortium of 26 cities and water districts that supplies drinking water to nearly 19 million people in areas of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The remaining 10 percent of Beverly Hills' water comes from the city's own wells and water treatment projects.