Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

Public Comment Period Nearing for Cancer-Causing Water Contaminant 1,2,3-TCP

It's been almost a year since CWC kicked off our campaign to protect drinking water from the cancer-causing drinking water contaminant 1,2,3-TCP, and we've come a long way. The State Water Board is making its way through the rulemaking process to establish a legal limit, or "MCL," for 1,2,3-TCP. The Board has held public workshops in Sacramento and in the Central Valley about their proposed regulation for 1,2,3-TCP, and we were thrilled to learn at their July workshops that the preliminary recommendation is to set a Maximum Contaminant Level of 5 parts per trillion. CWC has been there every step of the way, organizing, educating, and advocating alongside residents to ensure that the standard the state sets adequately protects public health. 

The most critical point in this regulatory process will be starting soon. Once State Water Board staff have drafted the regulations, they must solicit input from the public. The formal public comment period is set to take place in December and January, culminating with a public hearing before State Water Board Members in January. The tentative start date is December 16th, and we will share updates about the meeting schedule as we learn of them.

Most 1,2,3-TCP contamination in California stems from the extensive application of soil fumigants manufactured by these companies containing the unnecessary impurity 1,2,3-TCP prior to the 1980s. Multi-billion dollar companies Shell Oil and Dow Chemical will be lobbying hard against a 5 parts per trillion MCL, because they know they will be on the hook once the MCL is set. Despite the companies’ knowledge of the health risks, they failed to remove the ingredient from their products or notify farmers of the risk. Water systems across the state impacted by 1,2,3-TCP contamination have sued the responsible parties, and some have already settled their cases. For example, in Kern County, the community of Lamont has used settlement money to begin treating their water for 1,2,3-TCP. Other communities' lawsuits have been pending for years, waiting for the establishment of an MCL to move forward.

We must make sure that the State Water Board does not waver from their preliminary recommendation of 5 parts per trillion, and that Shell and Dow do not get in the way of setting this vital drinking water standard. Join us by signing our petition and joining our 1,2,3-TCP Action Team. Once the public comment period begins, we'll need your help to support a health-protective MCL of 5 parts per trillion and to make sure it's the polluters, not communities, who are paying for cleanup costs. Contact CWC's Policy & Communications Analyst, Asha Kreiling to get involved: asha.kreiling@communitywatercenter.org or (916) 706-3346. 

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