Water Treatment Experiment Gone Wrong Hushed to Save Money

by Mickey Huff
Published: Last Updated on

This article focuses on a dangerous water treatment experiment in Sacramento, California. This experiment was performed “to save money” but at the expense of the residence of the city. City officials experimented on the water with a new added chemical to aid in removing sediment, silt, and other impurities in the water supply, including aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH). However, the addition of ACH to the city’s water supply wound up being ineffective, so an excessive quantity of chlorine was added to the water as well. Another failure yielded a horrible outcome – as the combination of excess chlorine and aluminum chlorohydrate produced carcinogenic toxins known as “DBPs” – disinfection byproducts. Specifically, these are in the class of chemicals known as THMs or Trihalomethanes. The worst part is, city officials knew about this creation of carcinogenic toxins in the water and still did not inform area residents of the toxic chemical contamination of their water that resulted from the experiment. Cancer, miscarriages, and birth defects are the consequences of consuming these chemicals, but the extent to which Sacramento residents are likely to experience these symptoms is not yet known. City officials allowed the experiment to continue for a year despite knowing the process was creating carcinogens. Although this water experiment ended about a year ago, the THMs remain in the city’s water supply in levels that exceed EPA regulations.


Cassius Methyl, “Officials Secretly Added Cancer-Causing Chemicals to City’s Water Supply,” The Anti-Media, November 6, 2015, http://theantimedia.org/officials-secretly-added-cancer-causing-chemicals-to-citys-water-supply/

Student Researcher: Jasmine Vialva and Jordan Marks, Indian River State College

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College