Although Kettleman City is located adjacent to the great California Aqueduct that funnels water to Los Angeles, residents in this small Central Valley town have had to deal with unsafe arsenic levels in their water supply for decades—a situation so dire that state officials truck in 30 gallons of drinking water per family each month.
A cancer-causing chemical, arsenic can be found in the Central Valley’s groundwater. The level in Kettleman City’s drinking water consistently exceeds federal limits, but town officials say the risk is not life-threatening. Plans for a water treatment plant have been delayed for years.
“We are looking at 2019,” Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle, told CBS News in San Francisco.
Along with the water deliveries, the town’s 1,500 residents have resorted to buying bottled water, which can be costly. And, state subsidies for the water deliveries are running out. Meanwhile, area schools recently installed water filters.
“If you are telling people it’s not a big deal, well then it’s no wonder these systems are taking so long to get fixed,” said Eric Schaeffer, a former enforcement official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who now runs the Environmental Integrity Project.
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