General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567

Environmental Health

Water Quality
Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Water Quality Summary I get in the mail mean?

The Water Quality Summary that you receive in the mail is a report of the presence or absence of organic, inorganic and bacteriological contaminants detected in a sample of drinking water collected at a certain time and place and analyzed by a laboratory. The laboratory may provide the results in terms of concentration of the contaminant per volume of water (usually milligrams or micrograms per liter of water). Another way in which analytical results of this type are reported are in units of "parts per million" (ppm) or "parts per billion" (ppb).

Are there laboratories in the area I can call to have these analyses performed?

A listing of the laboratories in the general area approved to perform drinking water analyses by the California Department of Health Services can be obtained by clicking here.
Coliform Bacteria

What are coliform bacteria?

Coliforms are a group of bacteria which are readily found in soil, decaying vegetation, and animal feces, and are commonly used as "indicator organisms" in water microbiological analyses. To find more information about coliform bacteria, click here.

What are some forms of water contamination?

  • Coliform Bacteria
  • Some other types of water contaminants commonly found in this area include the following:

Contaminant                                             Common Indications of Presence

Hydrogen Sulfide                                        Rotten Egg Odor

Excess Iron                                                Reddish Brown Stains

Iron Bacteria                                              Foul Taste and Odor

Manganese                                                Blackish Stains, Metallic Taste

Hardness                                                   White Deposits, Increased Soap Usage

Salinity                                                       Salty Brackish Taste

Corrosiveness                                            Blue-green Stains and Bitter Taste

Turbidity                                                    Cloudy or dirty water

Sediment                                                   Material Settling out of Water


While none of these contaminants are considered health hazards, there are water treatment systems available designed to remove or reduce them. Contact a professional water treatment company for more information.

Also, man-made chemicals, such as pesticides, solvents, etc., can easily leach into a subsurface water supply through careless handling and dumping. Fortunately, these forms of contamination are rarely found in this area.