Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Do Not Tap That - Water Contaminated With Rocket Fuel Chemicals In Barstow [Updated]

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

Photo by sfxeric via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Photo by sfxeric via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
According to LA Now, Barstow residents were warned on Friday not to drink local tap water, as recent tests show it may be contaminated with high levels of perchlorate, "an inorganic chemical found in rocket propellant, fireworks, explosives, flares, matches and industrial byproducts," that, "interferes with the human thyroid gland, affecting hormones as well as prenatal growth during pregnancies."Golden State Water Co. learned of the possible contamination on Thursday when they were notified by the Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base Nebo (about five miles southeast of Barstow) about high levels of perchlorate in the base’s water system.

As Golden State investigates the contamination, customers in Barstow and surrounding areas are advised not to drink the water, and not to use it to make ice or other beverages. Customers were also warned that "boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not make it any safer," and terrifyingly, "boiling water can actually increase the concentration of perchlorate," causing it to become even more toxic.

The water, according to a statement, however, may be safely used for non-drinking purposes. Sure...

Support for LAist comes from

According to the agency's statement, the chemical “usually gets into drinking water as a result of environmental contamination from historic aerospace or other industrial operations that used or use, store, or dispose of perchlorate and its salts,” reports LA Now.

Update 4:10 p.m.: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasdeclared a state of emergency for San Bernardino County leaving more than 40,000 customers without drinking water, reports KTLA.