Carcinogen in Mojave groundwater could require costly treatment

The Mojave Desert groundwater thatCadiz Inc.wants to sell to Southland suburbs contains hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, in amounts that are hundreds of times greater than the state’s public health goal for drinking water.
The presence of the toxic heavy metal, which occurs naturally in the aquifer Cadiz proposes to tap, could force the company to undertake expensive treatment, driving up the cost of the project and ultimately the price of its water.
The chromium contamination is one of several concerns raised by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which owns and operates the 242-mile-long Colorado River Aqueduct that Cadiz would use to transport its supplies to customers.
Metropolitan has also informed Cadiz that the aqueduct space the company is counting on may not always be available, especially during dry years when demand for the Cadiz water would likely be the greatest.
The issues, described in environmental documents released last week, add to the hurdles Cadiz faces as it pursues a project that would push the boundaries of California’s nascent private water market.

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