Judge calls for toxin limit

California Department of Public Health given deadline to set chromium-6 limit in drinking water

A late-July court ruling has forced the hand of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding setting a limit on the amount of hexavalent chromium allowed in the state’s drinking water.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo agreed with two environmental groups that the public-health department should finally set a limit—by Aug. 31—on the chemical compound also known as chromium-6, which was made famous in the film Erin Brockovich for its contamination of groundwater in the Southern California town of Hinkley. The department was required by law back in 2004 to set such a limit and has not done so, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (The state’s Environmental Protection Agency has suggested a limit of .02 parts per billion.)

“There’s a large amount of the public that’s essentially at risk of drinking tap water without any regulation of hexavalent chromium concentrations in it. This is moving the [CDPH] a step forward to get that maximum limit in place,” said Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Nicholas Morales.