Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Californians complain of contaminated tap water

Lisa Garcia, Staff Writer

Thousands of Californians have recently begun to complain about their water being contaminated. NBC 7 news had discovered that more than 3,000 people in the San Diego area are without safe tap water. State investigations showed high levels of arsenic, uranium, nitrates and lead in the tap water supply of at least 14 different communities in the San Diego area.

Recent discoveries by the California water resource control board showed that some 700,000 people in California are currently being exposed to contaminate water in homes and even in schools such as San Ysidro elementary school. More areas including San Diego, Potrero, Pauma Valley, and Borrego Springs are exposed due to the fact that they are considered poorer rural communities. The number of people with toxic water could very well be higher since State data doesn’t account for nearly 2 million Californians and many rely on private wells.

Resident Juana Gonzalez says her kids bathing time is now strictly business since her family moved into Oak Vale Park mobile home community. She stated “When I shower my kids, I use to give them hot baths, but not anymore,” said Gonzalez, “Now we just wash, rinse, and get out.”

In Gonzalez’s home, levels of uranium and other radioactive materials have tested at more than five times the limit the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe to drink.

“Bathing with water that contains uranium is not a health concern” said a spokesperson for the EPA, but Gonzalez said it still makes her uneasy.  Executive Director Laurel Firestone of the community water center said “There are really serious health impacts from some of these contaminants. It can cause cancer (and) in the case of nitrate in very high levels, it can even cause death after a few days of high exposure.”

Whether it is in schools or homes, more testing is being done to assure safer water supply. Although some people are still experiencing it. It is something that will continue to be improved and worked on.

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
Californians complain of contaminated tap water