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May 19, 2016

Flint Casts Large Shadow

The Flint water crisis brought to light the importance of water quality and raised awareness about water issues throughout the country. All eyes are on Flint as it seeks to resolve its problem.

Unfortunately, other communities with a lengthy history of water problems have been overshadowed by the news in Michigan. Aging infrastructure is found in virtually every state, but in some cases, runoff or tainted water wells—as is the case for Kettleman City—have put public drinking water in danger, too.

The two local water sources in Kettleman City exceed federal arsenic levels. Despite its location next to the California Aqueduct, which supplies water to Los Angeles, the city cannot tap into the clean water source. Instead, some residents in Kettleman City have opted for deliveries of clean water bi-weekly out of safety. Also worrisome is restaurant use of local tap water for fountain drinks and food preparation, despite the arsenic levels.

While funding to construct a water treatment facility has not been an issue, the process has been plagued by delays, the most recent of which relates to an endangered species habitat. For now, residents are stuck with consuming contiminated water or using a clean water delivery service.

Kettleman City’s story is just one of many. While money is often an issue for solving water problems, sometimes things fall outside the control of decision makers and community leaders.

Do you know of any other stories like the one in Kettleman City? Share them with WQP by emailing [email protected].

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