AVENAL, CALIFORNIA – Reef-Sunset Unified School District Superintendent David East is worried about water. Not because of the drought – record rains this past winter ended five years of dry times. Rather, East, whose district encompasses the small towns of Avenal and Kettleman City on the San Joaquin Valley’s west side, is worried about the safety of the water that the 2,700 students in his school district are being given to drink.
IF YOU DRIVE Highway 99 through California’s Central Valley, you’ll pass through the heart of farm country, where the state’s bounty blooms with hundreds of crops – everything from peaches to pistachios, from tangerines to tomatoes. You’ll also pass through dozens of communities, large and small, whose water systems are tainted by a newly regulated contaminant, 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP), which for decades was used in agricultural fumigants injected into farmland across the Valley.
MADERA, CALIFORNIA – Evelyn Rios wept in 2014 when the well went dry at her home of 46 years – the home where she and husband Joe raised five children on farm-worker wages. They cannot afford another well, so they do without. Her angst only grew as California’s five-year drought dragged on.
On Tuesday, August 1, 2017 the State Water Resources Control Board met to discuss the proposed resolution to delete the text of regulations establishing and implementing a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) on hexavalent chromium, a previously-regulated carcinogen. Following the Superior Court of Sacramento County’s May 31, 2017 decision to invalidate the prior MCL due to a “failure to properly consider economic feasibility,” the State Water Board was ordered to reconsider and adopt a new MCL after economic analysis. Though the ruling did not take a stance on whether or not the previously instated MCL was economically unfeasible, if it adequately protected public health, or what the MCL’s proper value should be, the State Water Board was left to return to the drawing board.
CWC Co-founder and Co-Executive Director, awarded 2013 Gary Bellow Public Service Award
CWC's Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director awarded "Top Activist" in 2012