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Two reservoirs which supply drinking water to parts of eastern and central Los Angeles were shut down after officials found them contaminated with high levels of a chemical that can cause cancer, according to a report on MyFOXLA.com.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power intend to drain 600 million gallons of water from Elysian and Silver Lake reservoirs early next year, a process that will leave them out of action for three to four months amid drought conditions, the department said in a statement.
According to the department, high levels of the carcinogen bromate were discovered by a commercial water customer during tests in early October.
With the discovery surfacing while Southern California is in the midst of a drought, city officials said they would attempt to use some of the water for irrigation and other uses that don't involve human consumption. The rest will be dumped into the Los Angeles River, which drains into the Pacific Ocean, MyFOXLA.com reports.
Bromate "formed unexpectedly when the water in the reservoir, combined with groundwater, was treated with chlorine and exposed to sunlight," DWP spokesman Joseph Ramallo said in a statement in the Los Angeles Times, adding it was "the first time an occurrence like this has ever been observed."
"There is no immediate health risk," Ramallo's said in the statement.