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Math Mishap Prompted Delay Of Beverly Hills Water Warning

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(credit: Getty Images)

(credit: Getty Images)

Bill Polish Bill Polish
Bill Polish's Radio Tour of America began in 1974, when he graduated...
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textalerts180 Math Mishap Prompted Delay Of Beverly Hills Water Warning

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Drink up, Beverly Hills. City officials say the water is safe for consumption.

In December, testing conducted on samples of Beverly Hills drinking water showed levels of coliform bacteria — which the city described as “common” and “generally non-harmful” — that registered slightly above standards set by California law.

Six out of 88 total samples — 6.82 percent — showed trace amounts of coliform bacteria contamination, prompting a warning to residents (PDF) that “people with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly people” could be at risk of health complications and should consult a physician.

State law requires water customers to be notified anytime 5 percent of water samples containing coliform bacteria exceed standards, but the city did not initially provide any public notice until Mar. 6 because “staff was unaware of the noticing requirement.”

KNX 1070’s Bill Polish reports the warning wasn’t sent out to residents until earlier this month because of a mathematical error.

Assistant City Manager Mahdi Aluzri also said staffers did not believe the standards had been exceeded.

“At the time, when the staff was conducting the test, they did not mathematically do the correct percentage standards, and they did not think it exceeded the five percent, so that was the biggest problem,” Aluzri said.

Weekly testing conducted since December has shown the water supply to be safe and well within state standards, according to Aluzri, who suggested the test tubes used for sampling — and not the water itself — may have been contaminated.

“That had indicated that it was inclement severe weather at the time with high wind and rain, and I think we are quite confident that that’s what caused the contamination of the test tubes outside the system,” he said.

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