Report a water leak - call (707) 647-4550 or (707) 995-8674 (after hours).
Water is one of our most precious resources. Many California cities and water districts struggle to obtain sufficient water to sustain their growing populations and economies. Whether in time of plenty or drought, cities and water districts state-wide face a never-ending challenge to acquire, treat and distribute water to customers. American Canyon is no exception. The main source for our water supply is the State Water Project through the North Bay Aqueduct. During the peak irrigation season, we supplement our supply as needed with treated water from the cities of Napa and Vallejo.
The City operates a Water Treatment Plant near Highway 12 (Jameson Canyon Road) to produce drinking water that meets the highest quality standards set by state and federal regulations. There are two treatment processes at the Plant: a conventional sedimentation and filtration treatment process, and a second, state-of-the-art membrane filtration process. Together the two processes produce up to 5.5 million gallons of potable water each day for residents and businesses in our water service area, which extends from the Napa/Solano County line to Soscol Creek just north of the Napa Airport.
TIPS FOR WEATHERING A WATER SERVICE SHUT-DOWN
We know it is difficult to be without water service and if at all possible we will give you at least a 48 hour notice when water lines will be shut down for repair. Here are some things you can do to minimize the inconvenience.
- Fill the bathtub and keep a bucket nearby so you have water for flushing toilets.
- Fill bottles and other containers and refrigerate them so you have water for drinking and cooking.
- Fill the kitchen sink or dishpan with sudsy water so you can wash your hands, rinse dishes, etc.
- Water plants and do laundry the day before.
- Reschedule any pool maintenance or home improvement projects.
- Follow manufactures instructions for equipment such as swamp coolers and heat exchanges. Air conditioning units should not be affected.
In the event of an emergency such as a water main break crews may shut down service without notice.
BROWN OR YELLOW COLD WATER
If your water is discolored, run the cold water for a few minutes and it should clear up.
Light yellow to dark brown water is typically caused by a disturbance of pipeline sediments in the water main. The discoloration is caused by naturally occurring particles and minerals that have settled over time and are found in all water systems. Any of the following circumstances may have caused flow reversals in the water mains and sediment to be disturbed:
- The discolored water may be due to the planned cleaning of the water main to remove pipeline sediment in your area.
- A nearby water hydrant may have been knocked over due to a vehicle collision or may be in use to fight a fire.
- There may be some pipeline repair work (or construction activity) in the area and some valves may have been closed for this work.
Despite its appearance, this does not indicate that the water is unsafe or that the integrity of the water main is compromised. A disinfectant residual is maintained at all times to ensure that the water is safe for household use, including cooking and drinking. For aesthetic reasons, you should avoid doing laundry until the water clears up. If you notice discolored water in your home or business - run the water at the hose bibs outside for a few minutes, then run the cold water inside until the water clears. For aesthetic reasons, you should avoid doing laundry until the water clears.
To protect drinking water from disease-causing organisms, or pathogens, a disinfectant is added to drinking water. However, disinfection byproducts can form when organic-rich water is disinfected. A major challenge is how to control and limit risks from pathogens and minimize disinfection byproduct formation at the same time. Disinfection byproducts tend to be highest during the warmest time of year or during periods of long detention times in the distribution system or storage tanks. For neighborhoods farthest from treatment and storage facilities, the detention times in the distribution system tend to be longest, allowing more time for these byproducts to form. The particular byproducts at issue are Trihalomethanes (THMs). As a result of regulatory disinfection requirements, the City occasionally exceeds the total Trihalomethane MCL, which requires that a notice be sent to customers in the area where the limit was exceeded.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Are personal home filters effective?
Although City water is clean and safe to drink, we understand that many customers choose to use In-home filters. If you do so, please consider these tips to ensure your water remains safe:
- All filters require maintenance. Typically it’s as simple as removing and replacing the filter cartridge. Brita filters that sit in your refrigerator remove the residual chlorine that is in the water.
- Be aware that when the chlorine has been removed, just like food in your refrigerator, bacteria and other organisms can grow in the water. Be sure to thoroughly clean your filter and container consistently.
- Some home water treatment units are also available to reduce total THMs, or volatile organic compounds, from drinking water. To learn more about available home water treatment units, you may call the California Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water, at 916-323-0372 or visit this website.
I’ve never heard of disinfection byproducts before, so why am I hearing about this now?
Technological advances in laboratory analytical methods allow us to detect and report constituents we did not know existed as recently as the 1970s. Federal and State drinking water regulations continue to become more stringent. The requirement to notify you directly is similar to the Prop 65 state requirement to post ‘this building contains chemicals dangerous to your health’ signs at convenience stores or other businesses. All efforts are to protect public health.
Should I drink bottled water instead?
Bottled water is not regulated to the same level that tap water in California is regulated, but producers spend high dollars on advertising. The cost of bottled water ($1 per 12 oz) is more than 250 times higher than the water that is delivered to your tap at less than a penny per gallon (0.764 cents/gallon) or $0.0007 per 12oz). Bottled water is reasonably expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. If bottled water is bottled in a different state, it may not meet the standards set by the State of California that are more stringent than USEPA requirements for some constituents. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the USEPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
What about other water systems?
This new regulation has been a challenge to water systems all over the state of California. Three other agencies that treat the same State Water Project water we use, which is high in organics, have already exceeded this new regulatory limit.
What is a THM, and how is it formed?
A THM, or trihalomethane, is a chemical compound that often occurs in drinking water as a result of the reaction of chlorine treatment for disinfection purposes and natural organic matter present in the water. Often formed in areas of heavy rainfall, especially after a drought or extended period where sediment and debris have not been washed from the earth, THMs are colorless, volatile and readily dissolve in water. The four common THMs are chloroform, dibromochloromethane, dichlorobromomethane, and bromoform. A new water quality regulation (DBPR-II, or Stage II of the Disinfection Byproduct Rule) requires our water to comply with a Total THM maximum contaminant level of 80 ug/l, based on a running annual average at each monitoring location.
Why do we need to add chlorine to the water?
Chlorine in drinking water has prevented the spread of waterborne diseases and pathogens such as cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, and hepatitis A. At the turn of the 20th century, typhoid fever alone killed 1 person per 3,500. Drinking water chlorination and filtration have helped to virtually eliminate these diseases in the U.S. and other developed countries.
Water is a finite resource. The City of American Canyon is committed to conserving water as we believe it is our duty to use this precious resource responsibly so that it is here for us to use far into the future.
ZERO WATER FOOTPRINT POLICY
As a part of ongoing water conservation efforts in the commercial sector, the City of American Canyon adopted a Zero Water Footprint policy. Also known as ZWF, the primary goal of this policy is that there is no loss in reliability or increase in water rates for existing water service customers due to new demand for water within the City’s water service area.
In order to meet our ZWF standards, Developers must ensure that all new developments offset the amount of increased potable water that will be consumed by their project on a one-to-one basis. As part of the process, Developers are first required to minimize their demand for new potable water by using water efficient fixtures, consuming recycled water for non-potable uses when available, dual plumbing buildings, installing water wise landscaping and irrigation, and other appropriate measures. Once the Developer, working with the City, has refined their plan to minimize potable water needs, the City works with them to evaluate the water footprint of the project and the proposed offset to determine if the project has achieved a ZWF.
There are several ways to meet our ZWF requirements. Depending on the size and scope of the project, a variety of methods may be used. During the development process, the City and Developer work in partnership with each other to identify the most appropriate ZWF methods for offsetting the increase in potable water consumption. These methods might include:
- Contributing to the City’s existing conservation programs, including our popular Cash-for-Grass turf conversion program, toilet retrofits, and similar community-wide programs.
- Eliminating an existing public use of potable water by converting it to recycled water, such as city park and landscaping irrigation.
- Constructing or funding city capital projects that directly result in reduced demand for potable water or increased capacity to produce recycled water, including but not limited to replacing leaking main lines, replacing inefficient water meters, and treatment improvements at the water reclamation facility.
- Contributing toward the expansion of the City’s reclaimed water system by extending the purple pipeline to locations not currently served by recycled water.Acquiring water supply from another source.
NAPA JUNCTION PHASE III
Napa Junction Phase III is a wonderful example of a successful ZWF project. The Canyon Ridge Apartments located on the site are dual-plumbed. This means that every residential unit flushes with reclaimed water. Landscaping throughout the site features drought-resistant plants and reclaimed water irrigation. The irrigation system contains rain sensors that automatically pause irrigation if the system detects rain.
The Developer also extended the reclaimed water pipe (also known as purple pipe) from Green Island Road to the Napa Junction Phase III project site, then through to Main Street Park. This action allowed the City to provide reclaimed water to all the current landscaping contained in and around WalMart, surrounding businesses, the frontage road along Highway 29, and Main Street Park.
All of these actions combined mean that the Developer has provided the ability to discontinue use of valuable potable water in these locations. In turn, that potable water is secured for use in their residential and retail units without a significant impact to current City water supply.
We believe that through our Zero Water Footprint policy, we can effectively manage our supply of fresh water as a sustainable resource, while also protecting our water environment as we work towards meeting future City growth and demand.
Water is one of our most precious resources. Many California cities and water districts struggle to obtain sufficient water to sustain their growing populations and economies. Whether in time of plenty or drought, cities and water districts state-wide face a never-ending challenge to acquire, treat and distribute water to customers. American Canyon is no exception.
In California, some cities are fortunate to rely on their own reservoir, river or well for water. Here in American Canyon, though, the City purchases nearly all our water from the State Water Project. Designed, constructed, operated and maintained by the California Department of Water Resources, the State Water Project collects water in 21 reservoirs and distributes the water throughout the state using more than 700 miles of canals and pipelines. The State Water Project supplies water for 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.
Lake Oroville is the largest State Water Project reservoir with a capacity of 3.5 million acre-feet of water. From Lake Oroville, water travels down the Feather and Sacramento Rivers to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. The Delta is a 700-mile maze of sloughs and waterways serving as the distribution hub for the State Water Project. Most of the Delta water either flows into the San Francisco Bay or moves through the California Aqueduct on its journey to southern California.
As it heads toward Napa and Solano counties, water from the North Bay Aqueduct begins its 27-mile journey at Barker Slough. The North Bay Aqueduct ends in several large water tanks adjacent to our water treatment plant in Jamieson Canyon.
The Cities of American Canyon and Napa share the water in these terminal tanks. Since the raw, unpurified water comes straight from the slough, it contains lots of organic particles. With the help of gravity, water continuously transfers from the terminal tanks to our water treatment plant. It’s then processed in one of our two treatment systems. One uses conventional sand and carbon filtration, while the other uses state-of-the-art membrane filtration. Regardless of which system is utilized, the end result is always the same – clean, safe water that meets or exceeds state and federal clean water standards.
Once treated, the water flows down a pipe following Highway 12 to the west, then Highway 29 to the south. The water is stored in the main holding tank located on the top of Oat Hill just west of American Canyon City Hall.
Every year approximately 980 million gallons of clean, drinkable water leaves the last holding tank and travels through a complex system of distribution pipes leading to more than 5,400 homes and businesses in our community.
Water conservation is important for our future. Long-term water sufficiency is not just a challenge during times of drought, but also when rain and snow are plentiful. Sustained water conservation, new technological advances in treating recycled water, and locating new sources for additional water supplies are all part of the solution in the coming years.
Every drop of water that makes its way to your tap from the mountains is precious. It is up to all of us in American Canyon to continue to do our part and be water smart!