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Mobile home park residents continue to report contaminated water a year after EPA order


Residents at the Oasis Mobile Home Park on the Torres Martinez Tribe lands near Thermal are still reporting issues with contaminated water more than a year after the EPA issued an emergency order.

"We continue to live with water that is very dirty. It comes out yellow," said one resident who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.

On Aug. 27, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order at the Oasis Mobile Home Park after finding high levels of arsenic in the park’s public water system. According to the EPA, Arsenic has been linked to numerous kinds of cancers.

At the time, residents reported yellow water rushing from their faucets, some had up to nine times the legal limit of cancer-causing arsenic.

The EPA learned that the groundwater used in the park’s water system had naturally occurring arsenic. The system served about 1,900 residents.

More Details: 'Contaminated Communities': help for arsenic-tainted mobile home park water systems

EPA representatives tell News Channel 3 that the agency has been monitoring the community for any further violations of federal safe water laws. According to the EPA, the community's water meets the federal requirements in its last report.

"Currently the company from the UMM most recent sample results they are in compliance with the arsenic standard. However last week, the system did take some samples and we're waiting those results. We had an EPA inspector go down and monitor the sampling to make sure it was done correctly," said Amy Miller, director of the enforcement and compliance assurance division.

At the end of May, the agency recalled the requirement for alternative water supplies to be provided.

Despite the assurances from the EPA, the park's residents continue to feel that the water is unsafe.

"The water continues to come out dirty, with a bad smell, although they say that the water is in perfect condition," said the anonymous resident.

Photo of water at the park (Courtesy of Nataly Escobedo García & colleagues)

Miller added that the agency does not monitor the color, taste, or odor of the water.

Residents also say they are concerned about washing their hands to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. They say they are worried that they are more at risk because the water is still contaminated.

"With what is happening, especially with COVID-19, one of the things that they ask of them is to wash their hands frequently, but that is hard to do when the water is contaminated," said García.

We've reached out to the owner of the Oasis mobile home park for comment and have yet to receive a response.

Telemundo 15's Marco Revuelta also covered this for our Spanish-speaking audience. Click below if you would like to see his report for Telemundo.

KESQ News Team

Jesus Reyes


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