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It’s a notification that advises residents to boil their tap water used for consumption (drinking, cooking, making ice, etc.), because their water may be contaminated. A Boil Water Notice is in effect until laboratory results show that water is safe from bacterial contamination. The tests usually take 24 hours to complete. Bathing, washing clothes or dishes and other activities where water is used externally, should not pose a health risk.
Because delivering clean water is our business, Soquel Creek Water District adheres to stringent water quality testing and monitoring requirements to ensure that every drop of water delivered to your home or business meets or exceeds state and federal health and safety standards. We back our commitment to maintaining high water quality standards by dedicating the necessary human and technological resources to quality assurance programs.
Sometimes, however, there is a possibility that your water has become susceptible to contamination. The occurrences listed may increase the risk of contaminants entering the drinking water treatment and distribution system:
When we issue a Boil Water Notice, testing has generally not yet been conducted to confirm or deny the presence of contamination in your water. Sometimes, the chances of water contamination are remote, but we don’t want to take any chances with your family’s health. Soquel Creek Water District takes the protection of public health very seriously. In most cases, issuing a Boil Water Notice is a precautionary measure for the safety of our customers.
Do not consume your water without boiling it first. Use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice.
To ensure the destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes that might be present, a boil water notice will advise you to boil water used for drinking, cooking, and ice making. Bring water to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boil for two minutes (don’t forget to cool the water before consuming it). In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), boiling is considered the most effective and the safest method of water disinfection. You may find that boiled water tastes rather flat. To get rid of the blandness, aerate it by pouring it back and forth from one container to another and allow it to stand for a few hours, or add a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of water boiled.
We are required to collect samples from the water source (e.g. a well), the original site where contamination may have been found, as well as upstream and downstream of that point, and get them tested for any continuing contamination before we can declare the water clean. Only after satisfactory lab results and, under certain circumstances, approval from the state’s regulatory agency, can we then lift a Boil Water Notice.
Water utilities are required to notify you by newspaper, radio, TV, hand-delivery, or any combination of those methods. If your water doesn’t meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or state standards or if there is a waterborne disease emergency. We’ll use the same method to notify you that your Boil Water Notice was rescinded.
Many people are surprised when they see their water use in gallons per day. On average, Soquel Creek Water District customers use about 50 gallons per person, per day. If your meter detects 24 hours of continuous water use, we will notify you to check for leaks. Outdoor irrigation has a large impact on your water use, as well as your household’s fixtures, appliances and water use habits. To help you understand how your household is using its water, sign up for a free Water-Wise House Call and get a customized meter read report and survey of your fixtures and landscape to see where you could save more water.
Many of our customers are working hard to do their part and protect our community’s water supply by using water efficiently. We thank you for your efforts and the difference they make while we continue actively searching for new sources of water. Read your monthly water bill and know how many gallons, on average, your household uses daily. If you’re already using 50 gallons per person per day or less, you’re doing great!
Thank you for saving water!
In order for a new residential or commercial building to get water service from the Soquel Creek Water District, they must first reduce water use elsewhere in our community through our Water Demand Offset program. Requiring permanent water conservation gains to be made before new water connections are granted actually reduces the overall demand on our water supply. The Soquel Creek Water District’s board of directors voted against declaring a water connection moratorium at a public hearing held June 3, 2014. They directed District staff to restructure the Water Demand Offset Program so that the water expected to be used by any new connection is offset through conservation elsewhere (such as toilets at public schools) by at least 200%.
Most people aren’t wasting water on purpose, and they simply don’t know the rules. By reporting water waste, you’re helping Soquel Creek Water District educate your neighbors and the community about what is and what isn’t allowed in a friendly and non-threatening way.
Please report water waste incidents in the following ways:
Please include the following if possible:
All water waste reports are confidential. We will investigate all non-emergency water waste reports as soon as possible during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 pm).
We know we are asking a lot of our customers when we urge continued water savings due to our serious long-term groundwater shortage. We’re doing our part internally as well. Water tank maintenance is done without draining tanks. Flushing of water mains is done with our waste-free flushing unit. We are working to replace and repair outdated pipes and leaks within our system.
We offer our customers free water-saving faucet aerators, hose nozzles, toilet leak detection tablets, shower timers and toilet flappers. Just stop on by to the District’s main office during business hours (8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday) at 5180 Soquel Drive in Soquel or schedule a free water-wise housecall and we will bring them to you and in some cases even install them for you.
The Online Bill Pay Program allows you to use the internet to access, view, and pay your water bill with your Visa, MasterCard or electronic check 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from wherever you have internet access.
No, there is no transaction fee to use the Online Bill Pay Program. However, your financial institution may have a charge.
Online payments made through our website post to your billing account immediately.
If you have received a 48-hour notice of discontinuance, the online payment must be made prior to 5 pm on the date indicated on the notice to avoid additional delinquent fees.
The information provided through the Online Bill Pay Program is not as comprehensive as the tiered billing and 3-year consumption history available on your paper billing statement. For this reason, you will continue to receive your billing statement by mail.
Yes, payments can be made online using Visa, Mastercard, or an electronic check.
You may still make your payments by mail, phone or in person while enrolled in the Online Bill Pay Program. You may cancel your enrollment in the Bill Pay Program at any time.
You may reset either or both at any time. For security reasons passwords are not disclosed to District personnel, so you will be sent a new password at the email address you designated during enrollment in the Bill Pay Program.
Your personal data is protected through network and database security using industry-standard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt information to and from the site and other firewall and intrusion protection.
Take a look at a list of current projects open for bids.
Visit our construction page to determine if the project you are working on requires a new water meter, and what you’ll need to do to receive one.
We are a local public agency, specifically a California Special District. We get all of our funding through water rates and some grant funding.
Visit our online transparency center for details on our financing and budget.
We post all job openings on our website.
Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Lead can be found in air, soil, dust, food, and water.
AWWA has created a new whiteboard explainer animation that helps consumers understand where lead comes from, how it gets into water, and what households can do to keep their water lead-safe. Please note that the District has not found any lead service lines from our water mains to the meters.
The most common source of lead exposure is from paint in homes and buildings built before 1978. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978.
Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, lead also can be found in some household plumbing materials and some water service lines. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10 to 20% of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60% of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Lead can cause a variety of adverse health effects when people are exposed to it. These effects may include increases in the blood pressure of some adults; delays in normal physical and mental development in babies and young children; and, deficits in the attention span, hearing, and learning abilities of children.
Lead is uncommonly found naturally in source water. More commonly, lead leaches into water over time through corrosion-a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, fixtures, faucets (brass) and fittings. Lead service lines and pipes have not been found to be used in construction in the District, so sources of lead in our drinking water are primarily limited to solder and fixtures. The amount of lead in your water depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the water’s corrosivity, and water temperature.
The EPA has set an Action Level for lead at 15 micrograms per liter (or parts per billion). At least 90% of samples taken (the 90th percentile) must be less than 15 micrograms per liter. The Action Level for copper is 1.3 milligrams per liter (or parts per million).
In accordance with the Lead and Copper Rule, Soquel Creek Water District has been regularly testing the water at a selected number of higher-risk homes since 1993 and has never exceeded the Action Level. These homes were constructed using copper pipes with lead solder prior to the 1986 federal ban on lead solder. Our monitoring is conducted in accordance with regulatory requirements and guidance.
The 90th percentile results of the District’s most recent monitoring (2016) were well below the Action Levels. The 90th percentile lead was not detected at or above the State detection level (5 micrograms per liter). The 90th percentile copper concentration was 0.37 milligrams per liter. A total of 31 homes were tested. Lead was detected above the State detection level in only one of the 31 samples (at 7.9 micrograms per liter), and none of the copper concentrations from the 31 homes were above the Action Level.
If the Action Level is exceeded, water utilities are required to notify all of its customers and provide instructions on what to do to limit lead exposure as required by the EPA. In addition, the EPA requires water systems to control the corrosiveness of their water if the level of lead at home taps exceeds the Action Level.
For more information, the American Water Works Association has created a video on how water utilities look for lead and copper in the water supply.
If you’re concerned your home plumbing may contain lead in its pipes or fittings, you may want to have your water tested by a state-certified laboratory. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent. For more information on testing your water, contact a drinking water laboratory. Here are three in our area:
For more information, please visit the California Division of Drinking Water’s Lead Sampling in Drinking Water for Individual Homeowners webpage.
There are many steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water:
Children at risk of exposure to lead should be tested. Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to determine your child’s blood-lead level.
As a result of a permit action by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water, school administrators may request that their public water system collect and analyze up to five water samples at each Kindergarten through 12 school served by the water system. The public water system and/or the State Water Resources Control Board can also provide technical assistance if an elevated lead sample site is found. Schools can only request through October 2019 for a one-time sampling.
Read the information about District’s annual consumer confidence/water quality report.
There are two reasons why you would receive an alert. The first is the water meter has recorded non-stop, water usage of at least 3 gallons per hour every hour over a 24 hour period. The second is that your water meter recorded at least 75 gallons per hour every hour over a monitored 8-hour period.
To review your hourly, daily, and monthly usage, register for WaterSmart and click the “Track” menu heading.
Not necessarily. Our system may rarely flag legitimate use as a leak and sometimes your continuous usage may have already stopped without your intervention (e.g., a gardener or another member of the household turns off a hose, or a leaky toilet flapper falls back into place, etc.). If you receive a continuous use alert, please check your water meter to see if the continuous usage is still occurring and check the most common sources (e.g., outdoor hoses, toilets, and irrigation systems) before hiring a professional to locate a leak.
To review your hourly, daily, and monthly, usage, register for WaterSmart and click the “Track” menu heading.
The property owner is responsible for all plumbing located immediately after the service line connection at the water meter. The water meter and its fittings are the responsibility of the District.
If you see water in your meter box, please contact the District before calling a plumber or irrigation expert so that a Staff member may assess if the leak is the responsibility of the District.
To get email alerts about continuous water use, make sure your contact information with us is up to date. Call us at (831)475-8500. To sign up for text or voice alerts, register for WaterSmart and update your settings. Note that you can also set customized alerts for water use or bill amounts over a designated threshold, as well as for unplanned water use.
No. Leak detection and repair is the responsibility of the customer however we are available for questions. However, if you need water service shut off at the meter to make repairs, please contact us at (831) 475-8500 for service.
No. Staff can assist customers with basic questions, like when your leak started and give some ideas of where to look but ultimately it is the responsibility of the customer to locate and repair the leak. If you receive an alert and/or suspect you have a leak but cannot locate or repair it, please contact a plumber or irrigation expert for assistance.
There are two easy ways.
1. Take a look at your water meter. Click here to learn how to read your meter and see if it is registering a leak.
2. Register for WaterSmart and look at your water usage. (Note that a change may take up to a day to be reflected in your WaterSmart usage)
Our leak adjustment form is located on our website and is also available as a form on the WaterSmart portal. You can fill out a form either way to reach our billing department.
To avoid sending too many alerts and notifying customers about situations that might not be leaks, we send courtesy alerts to single family properties after 8 hours of nonstop water use that is 75 gallons or more an hour or after 24 hours days of nonstop water use that is over 3 gallons an hour. While some leaks may generate nonstop usage, others may be intermittent. For example, toilets, irrigation valves and water softeners can leak on an intermittent basis at varying flow rates, and never reach the 24 hours of constant use threshold.
Another reason for not receiving a courtesy alert from the District is your contact information in our billing system is incorrect and needs to be updated. To check or update your contact information, please contact customer service during regular business hours at (831)475-8500.
The automated continuous use alert feature is only available to single family accounts[SF1] . Multifamily residential, business and institutional account holders can register for WaterSmart to view and track their usage and set custom high use alerts which may assist in detecting leaks.
You cannot get continuous use alerts for dedicated irrigation services through WaterSmart; however, you can get them (as well as other detailed information about your water use relative to your property’s efficient water use budget) through the specialized Waterfluence portal.
During a Public Safety Power Shutoff, it is very important for you to conserve water, even if your house has power. A power outage will activate a short-term Stage 5 Critical Water Shortage Emergency. Stage 5 Measures for customers include the following:
We are working with PG&E to ensure we receive as much advance notice as possible so we can prepare and initiate our response. When a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Warning is issued, our operators will top off our tanks and ensure that our generators also have fuel as notice allows. We are managing vegetation around our facilities as feasible to reduce fire risk. We will notify customers when PG&E notifies us of a potential power shutoff.
Before a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event making sure:
During a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event:
After a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS):
No, the project is not a wastewater treatment project. It is a groundwater replenishment and seawater intrusion prevention project that will create recycled water at the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility and then it will purify it at an advanced water purification facility at Chanticleer/Soquel Avenue. This is not a wastewater facility. The technology used at the purification facility will use reverse osmosis and UV-light and then the purified water will be piped to seawater intrusion prevention wells that have been strategically located in Capitola and Aptos to create a barrier underground so that seawater contamination doesn’t move further inland and contaminate drinking water wells.
Yes, using purified water for drinking is not new in the U.S. and has been in use for more than 40 years since the 1970s. Many other communities such as Monterey, San Diego, Pismo Beach, and Santa Clara in California, as well as Singapore, Australia, Texas, Virginia, and Colorado, are currently operating or evaluating this type of project - with many more in various stages of consideration or development. Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment Project has produced over 200 billion gallons of purified water to recharge its groundwater basin. Disneyland theme park proudly promotes its participation in this type of water recycling and purification program, boasting that, "…almost all the water used at the Resort is recycled in this manner."
Yes. The State of California, which regulates the treatment of groundwater and surface water, is also responsible for regulating the production of purified water. Regulations ensure water purveyors meet state and federal water quality standards, making certain the water is safe. This also includes testing and strict water quality requirements for removing constituents of emerging concern such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products. The National Water Research Institute (PDF) commissioned a third-party, technical panel to evaluate and review the District’s Pure Water Soquel Project and they concluded that the project was "plausible, feasible and protective of public health". Water quality sampling confirms purified water that undergoes this level of treatment has a much higher level of water quality than treated groundwater or surface water.
The groundwater basin on which we all depend on drinking water is shared by Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD), City of Santa Cruz, Central Water District, and private wells. Representatives of each of these entities comprise the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency (MGA - see more information at www.midcountygroundwater.org). The State of California has officially designated this basin as critically overdrafted, and the MGA is responsible for bringing the basin into sustainability by 2040.
There are several municipal drinking water wells in the Live Oak community, which are operated and maintained by the City of Santa Cruz. As shown in the map below, Live Oak is part of the MGA basin area. These wells rely on that already-overdrafted groundwater basin to provide water for the people of Live Oak and the greater community. This water supply is at great risk, with seawater contamination detected in the groundwater aquifers near the well-field in the Live Oak/Pleasure Point area (in fact, seawater intrusion is occurring throughout the coastline from the Harbor to Pleasure Point/Live Oak to Aptos/La Selva Beach). From Pleasure Point to Aptos-Seascape-La Selva Beach area, the groundwater pumping can be optimized to redistribute pumping away from the coast and more inland. This redistribution, along with putting purified water into the ground through the seawater intrusion barrier wells, will raise protective groundwater levels.
Everyone living within the MGA area is affected by the groundwater overdraft and seawater intrusion problem. The Project is being developed as a means of replenishing the overdrafted groundwater aquifer, providing a barrier to seawater intrusion, and thereby protecting and sustaining the water supply for all within the MGA area.
The advanced water purification facility was built in the empty lot at Chanticleer Avenue (PDF) and Soquel Avenue, based upon the following factors:
To keep your plants healthy, it is best to avoid soap with the following ingredients:
In general, liquid soaps are better than powder soaps. For more information about soaps, see the Harvesting Grainwater website.
A good place to start is the Santa Cruz County Planning Department and search for greywater in their custom search tool. Look at the Permit Requirements (PDF) first.
Professional help: You can also request a professional graywater consultation from a member of the Central Coast Graywater Alliance to help you design your system.
It is very difficult to separate taste from odor because these two human senses are so closely related. Most occurrences of a peculiar taste or odor in the water can be grouped into one of the following three categories:
Causes of tastes or odors in water must be carefully investigated. Please be prepared to answer the following questions when reporting this problem to us at 831-475-8500:
The answers to these questions will assist us in finding the cause of the taste or odor and will also suggest corrective steps to take. A customer service representative should respond to calls regarding taste and odor within one business day.
Cloudy water could be a result of dissolved air in the water, which is a common and harmless condition. To verify this, place the cloudy water in a glass and observe whether it clears from the bottom up (you may be left with bubbles on the side of the glass and a small surface layer of bubbles). If this occurs then you have dissolved air in the water.
If the cloudy water persists, or if you are noticing unusual tastes or odors, please call 831-475-8500 and give us your address and a telephone number so we can have a customer service representative contact you.
Hard water is simply water that contains two harmless minerals - calcium and magnesium. Water is considered "hard" if it measures more than 120 parts per million or 7.0 grains per gallon.
Although hardness does not affect the safety of the water, some customers may find it to be inconvenient. The minerals may make the water hard to develop a sudsy lather. Hardness minerals may also contribute to scaling in teapots, spots on dishes and residues on plumbing fixtures and glass shower doors.
In Capitola/Soquel area, the range of water hardness is about is 140 to 360 parts per million (ppm) or 8.5 to 21 grains per gallon (gpg). In Aptos/Rio del Mar/La Selva Beach area, the range of water hardness is about 75 to 240 ppm or 5 to 14 gpg.
The white film is the residue of hardness and other minerals in the water. When the water is heated or evaporates, the minerals leave a white coating on items such as showerheads, shower doors, glasses, coffee pots, etc.
Although harmless, most people don’t appreciate a white film on these household items. Many customers install a water softener unit. In terms of cleaning hard water spots, there are several cleaning products on the market made specifically for its removal. A "green" alternative is warm vinegar. Soaking in vinegar can help dissolve the spots. Make sure you rinse the items carefully after the vinegar "bath" before using them. This method is less practical for shower doors. In the case of shower doors, prevention is the best medicine. Wipe down the doors with a sponge or towel after every shower.
There is naturally-occurring fluoride groundwater. In the Capitola-Soquel area, the average amount is 0.22 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and in the Aptos-Rio Del Mar-La Selva Beach area, the average amount is 0.13 mg/L.
The District does not add any additional fluoride to the water.
Some possible causes of problems with water which appears dirty, has an unusual color, or sediment/particles include:
Since there are many causes of dirty water, the District investigates each complaint carefully. Please be prepared to answer the following questions when reporting this problem to 831-475-8500:
The answers to these questions will assist us in finding the cause of the dirty water and may also suggest corrective steps to take. District Customer Service Representatives respond to calls regarding water which appears to be dirty, colored or has foreign particles, within one business day.
The District pumps groundwater from several different sources (wells) positioned throughout the District’s service area. Not all wells are actively pumping at the same time, and since each well has its own baseline hardness value, each service area has a range of hardness values, listed below (based on 2017 water hardness data).
It is advisable to program the dishwasher beginning at the lower end of the designated range and then adjust upward as necessary.
To find out the most recent hardness number, read the District’s annual consumer confidence/water quality report.
TCP is exclusively a man-made chemical. The primary source of TCP in groundwater is past agricultural use of soil fumigants that contained TCP as an impurity.
TCP has not been detected in the District wells that currently supply drinking water. The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for TCP is 5 parts per trillion (ppt). Country Club Well has TCP levels above the MCL - with an average of 8.7 ppt, and a maximum of 15 ppt. As of July 2017, Country Club Well has been temporarily shut off pending installation of a TCP treatment plant.
The most likely source of the TCP in Country Club Well was as a known impurity in the soil fumigants (nematicides) D-D and Telone. The immediate area around Country Club Well was agricultural in the 1950s and 1960s. We do not know how long the TCP has been in the groundwater.
The District has been testing for TCP since 1989. TCP was first detected in 2008 using an improved analytical method, capable of detecting very low levels.
The District’s water meets or exceeds all current drinking water testing requirements and regulations. The experts at the State Water Resources Control Board, Division Drinking Water (DDW) say that some people who drink water containing TCP over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer, based on studies of laboratory animals.
A new Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for 1,2,3-TCP of 5 ppt was established by DDW. The new standard takes effect in 2018.
The District is currently evaluating potential treatment options for the TCP in order to utilize this important drinking water supply source. If you have additional questions about TCP and your health, you should visit the DDW’s TCP page.