County scores high on water quality tests

CREEK CLEANUP On Saturday, March 10, these were among the nearly 60 volunteers who picked up 300 bags of trash filling more than six dump trucks, including 30 tires, 20 bikes, numerous carpets and one motorcycle from Uvas Creek.

The water quality lab of the Santa Clara Valley Water District late last year participated in proficiency testing managed by the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. In the tests, the water district ranked second out of 54 participating labs nationwide, the district said in press release.

The Santa Clara County Water District’s laboratory regularly samples drinking water to detect any water-borne pathogens.

Microbiologist Chris Carbone said that it is particularly difficult to detect giardia and cryptosporidium, the focus of the Wisconsin study. These microscopic parasites can cause extremely bad diarrhea, which can result in dehydration that children and the elderly, he said.

The water district lab runs tests monthly on raw, untreated water coming into the treatment plants, as well as on reservoir water. The water district’s lab performs more than 170,000 tests each year on raw and treated water from various sources.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams to 1.9 million county residents, including Morgan Hill and Gilroy.