Many families in the Coachella Valley have to deal with high levels of arsenic in wells that supply their drinking water.
New legislation brought by Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia of the 56th Assembly District might be able to help East Valley communities get clean drinking water at no additional cost to the tax payer.
AB 434 would require the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt regulations allowing water filtration systems in the Eastern Coachella Valley communities to protect residents against unsafe levels of arsenic in their drinking water.
This bill replaces one that expired the beginning on 2015.
“The previous bill had a sunset of three years, here we are saying that we should allow for the local water agencies to access the cost benefit analysis of infrastructure to provide safe drinking water, and if it’s much more cost effective, which these filtration systems are, that we continue to utilize the systems until we are in an economic position to build up the infrastructure,” said Garcia.
“Mainly the families that know the water is not drinkable, they struggle and go and buy bottled water which creates a burden because it’s more expensive,” said Sergio Carranza, Executive Director of Pueblo Unido, Community Development Corporation which is sponsoring the bill.
The maximum level for arsenic is 10 parts per billion. According to the Riverside Country Department of Environmental Health in 2010, 24 water systems in the Eastern Coachella Valley had arsenic levels above legal limits. The levels ranged from 12 to 91 parts per billion.
“Everyone should have access to clean and reliable drinking water-no matter where you live,” said Assembly Member Garcia. “Access to clean drinking water is a right, not a privilege. This point-of-use legislation will help ensure that people most impacted by unsafe levels of arsenic in their drinking water have access to cost effective solutions that help remedy the problem,” said Garcia.
“Due to the nature of the hydrology and geology of the Eastern Coachella Valley, it is our rural communities in the region that are most impacted by the potential consumption of unsafe levels of arsenic which may lead to cancer, skin rashes, and other health problems. The maximum contaminant level for arsenic is 10 parts per billion. In the Coachella Valley, 24 water systems were found to have levels between 12 to 91 parts per billion, putting the health and safety of the community at extreme risk. This needs to stop,” said Garcia.