In July 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted new standards that set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for the synthetic organic chemical 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) allowed within domestic water systems. TCP is a chemical compound that was used in pesticides in the 1970s and 1980s and has been found in groundwater in California.
Although this decision may impact multiple domestic water providers providing services within the City of Bakersfield, the information contained on this page pertains specifically to the City's domestic water system. If you do not know the water service provider for your home or business, you can use the Water Service Area Map tool to identify your water provider.
This decision requires the City to take certain actions over the next several months to meet these new regulations within the City’s domestic water system. The City must comply with these regulations beginning in early 2018. To come into compliance, the City must install treatment infrastructure at all impacted City-owned wells. The estimated cost to install the required equipment is $55 million. Ongoing litigation against the parties responsible for the TCP contamination will attempt to recover these costs, but the outcome of the litigation is unknown at this time. Therefore, the City must begin the process of implementing the required treatment facilities in the interim period.
While the City’s water enterprise fund has a modest fund balance that has allowed staff to acquire items with longer lead times, the City will need to finance the remainder of the project.
This borrowing will require a substantial user rate increase to fund the TCP treatment costs and cover the new debt service payments. In addition to the one-time capital TCP costs, the operation and maintenance will also increase due to the new State mandate. Water rates for users within the City’s domestic water system area will increase to cover the additional operating costs.
The City contracted with a special water rate consultant Stantec to conduct a rate study and determine the necessary rate increases to comply with the new State mandates to cover both the TCP treatment costs and meet the new debt service coverage ratios required to obtain a favorable bond rating. The rate consultant determined that domestic water rates need to rise by approximately 41 percent by July 2019 to fund the necessary components to comply with the new State requirements.
Stantec Rate Study Report
Based on the consultant’s analysis, City staff recommended and the City Council approved taking the necessary steps to implement the following rate increases over a three year period to pay for the new State-mandated TCP treatment:
Individual customer water rates will vary based on actual usage.