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Is the water safe to drink?

Yes. The water delivered by SJW must meet stringent drinking water standards established by the California Department of Public Health and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Every year, we prepare and distribute an Annual Water Quality Report describing how our water complies with these standards. For most standards, there are no detectable contaminants at all—the water is so pure that the required lab test methods cannot measure any contaminant present in the sample.

Some people are on a salt-free diet and must be aware of sodium. How much sodium is in tap water?

Nearly all the sodium people consume every day comes from food, not water. Our Water Quality Report provides a comprehensive analysis of our drinking water, including sodium content. You may request a copy of the report by phoning (408) 279-7900 or e-mailing us at customer.service@sjwater.com. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, consult your physician regarding your special requirements and call us for the range of sodium content in the water in your area.

Can accurate tests of my water be made at my home?

No. For a variety of reasons, home tests can be unreliable. Highly accurate analytical instruments used in state-certified laboratories provide the only dependable test results. You may obtain the name and phone numbers of these laboratories by calling our Customer Service department at (408) 279-7900.

Do I need to take special precautions if I need water for an aquarium or a kidney dialysis machine?

Yes. In order to comply with USEPA and California Department of Health Services regulations, SJW uses disinfectants such as chlorine or chloramine. These disinfectants must be removed before the water can be used in aquariums or kidney dialysis machines. Please consult your doctor or tropical fish store for guidance.

Should I buy bottled water?

Drinking bottled water should be a matter of taste, not out of concern for your safety, since public water agencies must comply with very stringent regulations. The water we provide meets all state and federal drinking water standards. Bottled water is not as stringently regulated, and very expensive at more than $1 per gallon when compared to about a penny per gallon for your tap water. Reverse osmosis and activated carbon drinking water filtration systems offer an alternative to bottled water. Also, just filling a pitcher and keeping it in the refrigerator so that its nice and cold can improve the taste, if that's your concern.

Should I be concerned about elevated phosphates in my pool or spa water?

Elevate phosphates are a very common issue for pool and spa owners. While levels in your pool or spa may be high, this is not an indication of any issue with the drinking water. Our phosphate levels are tested regularly in our source water and systemwide, the phosphate levels never exceed 1.5 mg/L.

Phosphates are naturally occurring anions that can affect your pool or spa water and system functionality. Higher levels can affect the relationship between various other chemicals use, can increase algae growth, affect sanitizer, and filter systems.  There can be multiple causes to elevated phosphate levels in your pool/spa, such as: 

  • External Contamination: Fertilizers, detergents, and decaying organic matter can introduce phosphates into your pool water. If your pool is near a garden or lawn, or if it is exposed to runoff water, this could be a contributing factor.
  • Pool Chemicals: Some pool cleaning products contain phosphates. If these products are used excessively or incorrectly, they can lead to elevated phosphate levels in the water.
  • Algae Growth: Phosphates are a nutrient for algae. An algae bloom in your pool can increase phosphate levels as the algae die and decompose.
  • Detergents: Even if your detergent says it’s biodegradable, it could still contain phosphate compounds. Unless you are handwashing your swimsuit with just water, there’s a chance phosphates could build up in your hot tub water over time.
  • Swimmer Contamination: Sweat, skin cells, and other organic matter from swimmers can introduce phosphates into the pool water.