This morning, The Chronicle reported that Mercury was found in the fish that live in San Francisco’s water supply. In light of this story, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commision (SFPUC) has just sent a press release assuring us that there is no detectable mercury in our drinking water. Apparently, it’s just the fish.
Researchers with the San Francisco Estuary Institute tested the largemouth bass at Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir and found that they had some of the highest mercury levels in the state. This came as a surprise to everyone and now the search is on to find the source. It was expected that some lakes with a history of mercury mining would have high levels but the Crystal Springs watershed doesn’t have that history. According to The Chronicle piece, researchers theorize that the mercury may be wafting across the Pacific Ocean from China, a country that relies heavily on coal-fired plants. (Who doesn’t?)
While this is an important mystery to solve and fix, the SFPUC wants everyone to know that our drinking water is OK. The most recent water quality report did not find even a trace of mercury in the drinking water.
According to the press release, “The concern for the bioaccumulation in the fish is indicative of years of larger organisms consuming smaller organisms in the food chain, not of poor drinking water quality,” said Harrington. “We were full participants in the recent SFEI study and look forward to further collaboration with the scientific community on determining a source of the mercury.”