In order to ensure that Irvine Ranch Water District meets or exceeds state and federal guidelines when it comes to delivering safe water to our customers, the dedicated six members of the Water Quality Monitoring team fan out into the community daily, conducting sampling at any of the 180 to 200 drinking water sampling sites. All water samples are tested in our state-certified Water Quality Laboratory.
“Our Water Quality Monitoring staff is made up of very dedicated professionals who care about the environment and quality of drinking water,” said Regulatory Compliance Manager Cindy Beck.
Results of potable water sampling are compiled in the annual Water Quality Report, which is sent out to customers and available on our website.
The sampling sites are located throughout the community. Quite possibly, you might have noticed these sampling cans and wondered what they were, or you might not have noticed them at all. They are designed to pleasantly blend in with the landscape.
“A typical day on Monday and Tuesday is set aside for sampling potable (drinking) water,” said IRWD Senior Scientist John Hayes.
Each sampling site chosen represents a portion of the IRWD service area, with accessibility and safety to the field crews in mind. Sampling cans are all painted the same color of light brown with a slight difference – potable water samplings cans have blue decals, while recycled water sampling cans have purple decals. Each can contains a lock that may only be opened by a member of the monitoring team.
Water from IRWD drinking water tank reservoirs and all of the IRWD drinking water wells are also sampled and tested weekly.
Non-Drinking Water Monitoring
In addition to potable water, samples are collected from the San Joaquin Marsh and 11 other Natural Treatment System sites, from Irvine Lake, recycled water reservoirs, and both of the District’s water recycling plants, as well as 26 recycled water distribution system sample sites.
Once a week, monitoring crews take samples from Irvine Lake, which is the source of raw water used primarily for crop irrigation in the IRWD service area. Water in Irvine Lake comes from Lake Matthews in Riverside County. Fine-meshed nets are used to monitor quagga mussel larvae. Quagga Mussels are an invasive species, which multiply at a rapid rate and can clog water delivery pipes. In addition, the lake is monitored for dissolved metals at different depths.
Protecting the Environment
The Water Quality Monitoring Team also plays a key role in IRWD environmental stewardship, with five members of the team overseeing certain responsibilities:
Industrial waste – the IRWD service area has many industrial-related businesses. IRWD conducts pre-treatment inspections of businesses to ensure no industrial waste is dumped into the sewer system, which could cause upsets in the District’s two wastewater treatment plants.
Underground storage tank program – IRWD has tanks that provide diesel and gasoline to operate the District’s extensive fleet. These tanks are inspected weekly to ensure there are no leaks.
Above ground storage tanks containing petroleum-related chemicals at various sites are inventoried once a year and inspected once a week for leaks.
Hazardous waste program – used motor oil and filters, anti-freeze and paint are stored until they are properly disposed of. The county conducts an annual inspection of the storage site.
Universal waste – light tubes, circuit boards and batteries and any other “e-waste” is collected and properly disposed of.
More information about water quality is available at our website.