By Amanda Gomez
ABC23 News - Kero Bakersfield
ARVIN, Calif. - Students in Arvin have been dealing with unsafe drinking water for years, but now a private health foundation is working to change that.
The Arvin Union School District received a grant from The California Endowment to provide students with clean drinking water. The district will be installing filters on water fountains at the El Camino Real Elementary School to filter out arsenic and nitrates.
“We are going to be filtering regular drinking water at the fountains and cooking water at all four of our school sites as well as the family resource center and warehouse,” said Michelle McLean, Superintendent for Arvin Union School District.
The California Endowment will also be installing water stations on campus for students to fill their reusable water bottles.
“We know that families are spending upwards of ten percent of their income to buy bottled water and it’s just not right. It’s unfair to ask low-income families to buy bottled water and then also pay a water bill on top of that,” said Annalisa Robles, Program Manager with The California Endowment.
"I drink more water than anything else,” said third grader Lauren Gayer.
"They say water is important because sugar is bad for you,” said third grader Ava Martinez.
The California Endowment will be installing the filters on September 15th. Robles told 23ABC unsafe drinking water is a big issue in rural communities in South Kern County and that is the reason the foundation chose Arvin for their program.
“They've been asking for this for decades. Unsafe water can cause connections to health issues such as cancer and thyroid problems and others,” said Robles.
Robles also told 23ABC the foundation has plans to install water stations at schools in the Lamont District, Vineland, Greenfield, as well as public parks and community health centers.
McLean and Robles were recently invited to the White House where first lady Michelle Obama recognized them for their efforts and the launch of the program as she pushes her Drink Up campaign to encourage more people to drink water.
The Agua4all program is a state-wide effort to help communities with unsafe drinking water.
For more information on programs offered by the California Endowment click here.
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