A newly-released report by the Atascadero Mutual Water Company shows a higher than normal level of copper in the tap water.
The report showed that various samples taken were above the level allowed by the EPA.
The water tests were performed between January 1 and December 31 of 2017.
They found that more than 10 percent of the first-draw samples were above the action level of 1.3 PPM, which is a violation of the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule.
“It makes me nervous because I have two children and I make food from the tap water. We don’t drink tap water from the tap but we do make all of our meals off of tap water,” said Carrington Broussard, Atascadero resident.
Dr. Borenstein with the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department says some people who drink water containing high levels of copper over many years may suffer liver or kidney damage.
The water company says the excess of copper in the water can be related to the corrosion of the copper plumbing in people’s homes after it sits in the pipes for an extended time.
“Water filtration is a great answer for this. It gets rid of copper in the water, not everyone can afford Brita filters, there are other devices you can put on your tap water,” said Dr. Borenstein, County Health Officer.
The Atascadero water company said they are adding a small amount of orthophosphate to prevent future corrosion in the pipes.
County health officials say they will monitor the copper levels to make sure they drop over time.
Either way, some residents say they’d rather take extra precautions.
“Anytime you can filter something, either through a filter or a filtration system or the R.O. system, then I think it’s safer,” said Janet Ables, Atascadero resident.
County health officials recommend using filtration systems or running your tap for 15 seconds before drinking the water. And of course, use that water for something else like watering your plants.
For residents who use well water, it’s also important to test the water once a year.