Mayor Garcetti and LADWP Celebrate Tap Water Day with Tours of Los Angeles Aqueduct Filtration Plant

Event celebrates 30th Anniversary of The Los Angeles Aqueduct Filtration Plant

LOS ANGELES (May 6, 2017) — Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) joined together with approximately 150 members of the community to celebrate the third annual Tap Water Day and the Los Angeles Aqueduct Filtration Plant’s (LAAFP) 30th anniversary of providing pure, clean, refreshing tap water to the people of Los Angeles.

“Everyone should have ready access to high-quality drinking water — and Tap Water Day is the perfect time to raise a glass, remind ourselves about the health benefits of fresh water, and celebrate how far we’ve come since building this water filtration plant 30 years ago,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We’re making sure that Los Angeles has some of the cleanest drinking water in America, and will never compromise the high standards of quality and service that Angelenos deserve.”

In many parts of the world, access to clean, safe drinking water is a luxury. In light of this, Tap Water Day LA is a notable event, serving as a reminder that our city’s complex water planning, treatment, and monitoring infrastructure should be a focal point of civic pride.

Los Angeles’ drinking water meets and exceeds state and federal drinking water standards for all contaminants, including lead. In 2016, LADWP supplied nearly 160 billion gallons of drinking water to more than four million residents and businesses. Over the 12-month period, water quality teams collected nearly 40,000 water samples throughout the city and conducted more than 140,000 water quality tests for compliance as well as for research and operational improvements.

“LADWP delivers the highest quality water at the lowest possible cost to millions of customers throughout the city,” LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of Water Richard Harasick said. “We want the public to know that our drinking water is protected by hundreds of employees who manage our treatment processes, operate and maintain our world-class treatment facilities and vigilantly monitor and test the water we serve. It is truly pure, clean, refreshing tap water.”

The LAAFP is the site where water from the Los Angeles Aqueduct and State Water Project is treated before making its way into the homes of Angelenos. It is estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the City’s Water Supply is treated at the facility.

“The LA Aqueduct Filtration Plant is a critical site and important infrastructure for Los Angeles, ensuring that all residents have safe and clean water to drink,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MED, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  “This is the most basic requirement of a healthy community.”

When the LAAFP was commissioned in 1987, it marked a new era in water treatment and quality for Los Angeles. In recent years, innovations like the LA Reservoir’s shade balls and the state-of-the-art UV Disinfection Facility have been incorporated into the treatment process. Today, the Sylmar plant cleans and purifies up to 600 million gallons of water a day and is one of the largest and most advanced treatment plants of its kind in the world.

The facility treats water by first removing visible material and then, as it progresses through the system, the treatment process moves through several steps and focuses on what cannot be seen with the naked eye.

After the initial screening, optimal levels of fluoride are added as required by state regulations to promote oral health. The next step is ozonation. Ozone is a super-charged oxygen molecule and a powerful disinfecting agent that is injected into the water. Following ozonation, water moves to rapid mixing, flocculation and filtration where treatment compounds are quickly disbursed into the water to make fine particles clump together and form floc. Filter beds remove the floc and previously added elements.

Water then travels through a 12-foot diameter pipe to the UV Disinfection Facility. UV disinfection has been identified as one of the most effective methods of drinking water treatment by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The filtered water is treated with chlorine for additional lasting disinfection and then ammonia is added to create chloramine, an approved disinfectant that protects the water as it travels through the City’s vast distribution system to millions of Angelenos.

“Tap Water Day is a great time to remind the public that water from your tap and drinking fountains are the most cost effective and safe alternative to bottled water,” Evelyn Wendel, Founding Director of the non-profit group WeTap said. “WeTap helps promote the necessity of public drinking fountains in order to improve public health and safety while reducing single-use plastic waste. We are proud to stand with the City of Los Angeles to remind our communities how fortunate we are to have safe and reliable drinking water here in Los Angeles.”

LADWP is the largest municipally owned and operated retail water utility in the country, serving a population of more than 4 million residents and an area of 472 square miles.