By Jim Steinberg Staff Writer
Posted: 02/02/2011 08:57:29 PM PST

COLTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced it would move forward with the development of regulations for perchlorate, reversing a Bush Administration decision.

California has had a public health goal for perchlorate of 6 parts per billion since 2004 and in 2007 set 6 parts per billion as the maximum contaminant level for drinking water.

In 2008, Bush administration officials decided the EPA would not regulate perchlorate levels in drinking water.

A California Department of Public Health survey, for the period between Aug. 1, 2006 to Aug. 2, 2010, found San Bernardino County had 31 active and standby water sources with perchlorate contamination levels above 6 parts per billion. Riverside County had 41, and Los Angeles County had 60.

Perchlorate is used in solid propellants for rockets, missiles and fireworks.

Scientific research indicates that perchlorate may interfere with the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones that are critical to developing fetuses and infants, the EPA said.

In a separate action Wednesday, the EPA said it is also moving toward establishing a drinking water standard to address a group of up to 16 toxic chemicals that may pose a risk to public health.

Previously, the EPA said it would develop a standard on chromium 6, a toxic chemical that has plagued the underground water supply of Hinkley for decades.

“Clear water is critical to the health and prosperity of every American community and a fundamental concern to every American family,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a statement.

Regionally, perchlorate has been detected at 20 water supply wells in the Rialto-Colton area, according to the EPA’s website.

For a decade, Rialto residents have paid a $10 surcharge on their monthly water bills to help clean up a perchlorate plume that originated near a landfill on the city’s west side.

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