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South Kern County schools get safe drinking water

 


By Mark Christian

23ABC News

https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/south-kern-county-schools-get-safe-drinking-water-111213

(11/12/2013) LAMONT, Calif. – Five Head Start Centers, four schools and south Kern County communities of Arvin and Lamont are getting relief from arsenic contaminated water.

Community Action Partnership of Kern, the Arvin Union School District and Community Water Center working with local community groups are securing funding to deliver safe drinking water to the school sites by installing water filters at playground drinking fountains and classrooms.

Water experts say throughout out the Valley more than a hundred communities without safe drinking water are working on long term solutions to address drinking water contamination.

Many small communities water systems will have to wait years for improvements. In the meantime, residence and now schools are increasingly looking for interim measures they can take to reduce exposure to contaminants, primarily arsenic and nitrate.

In south Kern County, where many communities drinking water supplies contain arsenic over legal health standard, residence and local leaders concerned about student exposure have taken action.
Arsenic is a drinking water contaminants that can have serious health effects, such as reduced mental functioning in children; cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, liver and prostrate and Type 2 diabetes

“We are working with our families and local communities to educate them about access to safe drinking water,” said Yolanda Gonzalez of Community Action Partnership.

As a result of this project, about a total of 3700 students and staff will be able to access safe drinking water and drinking water fountains and kitchen cooking areas.

https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/south-kern-county-schools-get-safe-drinking-water-111213


Schools in Arvin, Lamont get water filters

 


By BakersfieldNow.com Staff

KBAK/KBFX – BaskersfieldNow.com

https://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Schools-in-Arvin-Lamont-get-water-filters-231018951.html

(11/07/2013) ARVIN, Calif. — A coalition addressed water contamination in some south Kern County schools.

Water filters were installed at cooking areas and drinking fountains on playgrounds and in classrooms at five Head Start centers and four schools in Arvin and Lamont.

Visalia-based Community Water Center said it teamed with Community Action Partnership of Kern, the Arvin Union School District and the Committee for A Better Arvin.

Community Water Center said many rural valley communities have unsafe drinking water, contaminated by arsenic levels over the legal health standard.

“Since last year, we have been working with the schools and centers to assess their specific drinking water needs by developing an inventory of contamination sites and analyzing different filters on the market,” Shen Huang, technical analyst of Community Water Center, said in a news release. Community Water Center is a nonprofit organization that works with communities that lack access to safe drinking water.

“Seeing these children get safe drinking water is very rewarding for us and our community partners,” Huang said.

The filters are part of a pilot program for securing immediate access to safe drinking water while long-term solutions are being pursued, the group said.

https://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Schools-in-Arvin-Lamont-get-water-filters-231018951.html


Safer water for schools in Arvin and Lamont

 


KGET-TV – KernGoldenEmpire.com

https://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local/story/safer-water-for-schools-in-arvin-and-lamont/d/news/local/story/3FPLVPJ9DUeCUcwM2GHwaw

(11/07/2013) KERN COUNTY, CA – Access to clean water is a major concern in central California, where more than 100 communities in the valley don’t have it.

But, an initiative led by community groups in Kern County is helping schools in Arvin and Lamont keep their drinking water safe from arsenic.

By the end of the year, all K-8 schools and Head Start Centers in Arvin and Lamont will have water filters on the playground and classroom drinking fountains. They’ll also be in kitchens, all in an effort to get rid of arsenic.

Though it will take years to come up with a long-term solution for water contamination, this step is making a big difference

For students and staff in the Arvin Union School District, drinking from the water fountains could be dangerous.

“For some time now, the community of Arvin has had a water issue with the acceptable levels of arsenic and nitrates in the water,” said Superintendent, Dr. Michelle McLean.

Those contaminants can lead to reduced mental funtion in children, various forms of cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes.

“There have been requests made over time for us to filter the water here at the schools, but it’s really cost prohibitive, and the costs we receive from the State Department of Education and taxpayers are really meant to go toward the education,” McLean said.

So the Community Action Partnership of Kern teamed up with the school district, the Community Water Center, and the Committee for a Better Arvin to come up with a temporary solution, filters on all drinking fountains and in kitchens.

“We have to pay double for water here because we pay the water district their bill and then we have to pay for bottled water which we can’t drink the water from the tap.”

Salvador Partida says his concern is for the kids who might not be able to bring bottled water to school every day. Though he hopes for a permanent solution to the water problem, this project is a good place to start.

“It’s a band aid, but nevertheless it’s going to help maybe for the duration until we get something fixed. But, it’s worth it,” Partida said.

This project will be in place for three years at no cost to the schools or Head Starts thanks to funding from various partners.

https://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local/story/safer-water-for-schools-in-arvin-and-lamont/d/news/local/story/3FPLVPJ9DUeCUcwM2GHwaw


Press Release: Schools with arsenic contamination soon to have safe drinking water

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Schools with arsenic contamination soon to have safe drinking water
Community-driven effort partners with many groups to install water filters in schools

(11/06/2013) KERN COUNTY, CA – Five Head Start Centers and four schools in the south Kern County communities of Arvin and Lamont are getting relief from arsenic contamination in public schools. Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), the Arvin Union School District, and Community Water Center worked with local community group,Committee for A Better Arvin (CBA), and a broad set of funding and in-kind donation partners to deliver safe drinking water to local school sites by installing water filters at playground and classroom drinking fountains sites and kitchen cooking areas. This effort is seen as a pilot model for securing immediate access to safe drinking water while long-term solutions are being pursued.

Throughout the Valley more than a hundred communities without safe water are working on long-term solutions to address drinking water contamination. Unfortunately, many of these small community water systems will have to wait years for improvements. In the meantime, residents and now schools are increasingly looking for interim measures they can take to reduce exposure to common contaminants, primarily arsenic and nitrate.

In south Kern County, where many community drinking water supplies contain arsenic over the legal health standard, residents and local leaders concerned about student exposure have taken action. Arsenic is a drinking water contaminant that can have serious health effects, such as reduced mental functioning in children; cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, liver and prostate; and Type 2 diabetes.

“We are working with our families and local communities to educate them about access to safe drinking water,” says Yolanda Gonzales, CAPK’s Director of Child Education and Development Services, which runs the Head Start programs where filters have already been installed.

“Since last year we have been working with the schools and Centers to assess their specific drinking water needs by developing an inventory of contamination sites and analyzing different filters on the market,” said Shen Huang, Technical Analyst of Community Water Center, a non-profit organization that works with communities that lack access to safe drinking water. “Seeing these children get safe drinking water is very rewarding for us and our community partners.”

As a result of this project, about a total of 3700 students and staff will be able to access safe drinking water at drinking water fountains and kitchen cooking areas. This project will be in place for three years and will be tracked using partner Blue Planet Network’s online platform to ensure its sustainability. This project began with the installation of filters at the Head Start Centers in September. The project was recently expanded when the Arvin District School Board recently unanimously approved the project implementation, and the Arvin Union School District will get filters by the end of December. The project supports the goals of the South Kern Building Healthy Communities strategic initiative, which helped bring a diverse group together to address the water quality issues in the region.

“We are striving to create partnership models for other school districts and communities that need temporary solutions for access to safe drinking water for students, staff, and parents, because we recognize that public schools, especially rural or high-poverty districts, usually don’t have the financial resources to provide alternative sources of drinking water,” says Dr. Michelle McLean, Superintendent of the Arvin Union School District.

The filters are certified by the California Department of Public Health to remove arsenic effectively. The filter equipment, replacement filters, installation, and water quality monitoring will be all covered with the support of project partners Kinetico Incorporated, AdEdge Water Technologies, Multipure Corporation, Helping Hands For Water, Johnson and Sons Plumbing, Western Water, and California Rural Water Association at no cost to the schools or Head Starts. Ongoing operations and maintenance support and training will also be provided to facilities staff, to ensure that the filters are performing successfully.

“While these filters are effective temporary solutions, communities and local residents ultimately want and desire safe drinking water at the tap,” said Sal Partida, President of Committee for a Better Arvin.

This project was made possible through funding from The California Endowment, Blue Planet Network and the Yahoo! Employee Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

Contact:
Shen Huang, Community Water Center, (559) 733-0219
Salvador S Partida, Committee for a Better Arvin, (661) 854-7000
Dr. Michelle McLean, Arvin Union School District, (661) 854-6500
Yolanda Gonzales, Community Action Partnership of Kern, (661) 336-5236

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/915287/255474fec2/1442554917/6912989cf8/


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