Portantino Continues Clean Water Efforts / Partners with Metropolitan Water District on a CEC Drinking Water Program

Thursday, February 13 2020

Sacramento, California – Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D–La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced SB 996 which will establish a statewide effort to grapple with (CECs) which have touched an emerging concern about newly discovered chemicals in drinking water.   CECs are a diverse group of synthetic and naturally occurring chemicals and microorganisms that are not currently regulated in drinking water. Currently, CECs can become regulated by the State Water Control Board in one of three ways: adoption of federal standards, after the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment sets a public health goal, or by legislative mandate. This bill will create that mandate and achieve several goals including identifying the highest priority CECs, fill gaps in current information regarding CECs, coordinate research, remove barriers for State action, and ensure meaningful stakeholder participation.


“The Metropolitan Water District and the California Municipal Utilities Association are trusted to provide safe drinking water for California’s families.  After educating me on the need for a state-wide effort I believe we have come up with an effective science-based program that will work for today and into the future.  Access to safe drinking water should be a right, not a privilege, and this bill is going to help make sure that the State is committed to clean water,” commented Senator Portantino.


A CEC Drinking Water Program at the State Water Board would identify, evaluate, and prioritize actions for CECs in drinking water sources. A dedicated funding source would be created to establish and maintain the program. This fund would additionally support the creation of a Science Advisory Panel to assist the State Water Board in its considerations when prioritizing and making regulatory determinations for CECs, as well as a Stakeholder Advisory Group that would advise the State Water Board in meeting the purposes of the CEC program.


“Constituents of emerging concern present a growing challenge to our drinking water.  More resources are needed to adequately and expeditiously inform our regulatory process and ensure the safety and reliability of our supplies.  SB 996 will do this with a science-driven program that prioritizes research on the occurrence and health effects for newly discovered contaminants impacting our supplies and will help ensure the safety of the drinking water delivered to millions of Californians,” added  Jeffrey Kightlinger, General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.