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Residents Claim Water In San Francisco's Sunset Tests Positive For Pesticide

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- A customer complaint about water quality concerns in San Francisco's Sunset District on Monday has the city taking action.

Officials are going to great lengths to prove to the public that their drinking water is safe.

The issue started with a single customer and a store-bought test.

Questions about the quality of water in the Sunset spread quickly on social media. That led water officials to take the extraordinary step of talking to reporters Monday night to try to reassure the public.

She didn't want to be identified, but a woman who lives in the Sunset District told KPIX 5 she has begun drinking bottled water because the test kit she bought at Home Depot has determined her kitchen faucet water had a high level of pesticide.

She insists when she called the water quality phone number Monday, she was told they had made a similar conclusion. She also said two of her neighbors tested their water as well. One of them posted it on Next Door, a social media site set up for neighbors to communicate.

The site does not have fact checkers or editors.

"Two are home kits. I don't know the 3rd one, but three out of three showed high levels of pesticide. Two are above EPA recommendation," the woman explained.

Katie Miller with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said the water is constantly tested. And that there are no signs of pesticides, but they will immediately test the water again to be sure.

Despite what neighbors may have seen on the internet, she says it's very unlikely the 180 million gallons of water in the Sunset reservoir could have high levels of pesticide.

"We feel this water is safe to drink. The volume of pesticide that would have to be in here to be diluted by that much -- and be measurable in a home test kit -- it would have to be significant volume," said Miller. "A very large volume. And we have seen no tampering, no signs of break in. We don't think there's any chance someone could have dumped that volume of pesticide into the reservoir."

But Trevor McNeil, another Sunset District resident, said he wants to wait to see the results of any testing before he makes any changes.

"Great that we have citizens out there testing. And we have citizens holding PUC accountable," said McNeil. "The worry and the panic is also a problem. And until we have a little more information, the safest thing for me is to continue my life the way it is."

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