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Rep. Ruiz, EPA officials discuss clean water access at Oasis Mobile Home Park

It's been an ongoing battle for thousands of Coachella Valley residents across more than 100 mobile home parks to get safe drinking water.

On Wednesday, Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, visited the Oasis Mobile Home Park in Thermal.

Ruiz and the EPA's regional Administrator, Martha Guzman, met with residents to discuss clean water access in the Eastern Coachella Valley.

“It is very important that we settle this issue once and for all because water is life and it is a fundamental human right,” said Ruiz.

The water in these areas contain high-toxic levels of arsenic, which is very dangerous to drink. In large amounts, the arsenic can cause several health impacts including cancer.

“That kind of chronic exposure can lead to a lot of health impacts. Unfortunately that includes cancer and so we want to avoid that chronic exposure,” said Guzman.

Representative Ruiz and Guzman walked the streets of the Oasis Mobile Home Park to speak with residents on how they feel the problem could be solved.

“There is always something that community tells us that we didn’t catch, we didn't know. Something that they’ve tried before, something that they are actually shooting for that we didn’t quite have so the most important part of out work is hearing and listening and learning from the community and making sure the work we’re doing is lining up with what they want,” Guzman added.

This problem isn’t only being seen at Oasis, but other mobile home parks throughout the Coachella Valley.

“Federal priorities and attention including resources and opportunities will soon be available in making sure we collaborate with all other agencies to ensure that we solve this problem once and for all," Ruiz added.

In recent years, officials have been making progress in making sure residents have access to safe drinking water. But they say thei efforts are far from over.

“We’re working on immediate intermediate solutions like point of use treatment to put within their homes as we look on the long term infrastructure solution to connect them to get that centralized treatment,” Guzman said.

Congressman Ruiz has also introduced a bill to ensure the EPA can provide emergency water and resources to these areas. He also highlighted a $2.7 million budget to install water lines to different trailer park communities.

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.


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