Many in the Valley rely on contaminated water sources

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webmaster | 02/11/13
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FRESNO (AP) — More than half of California’s population relies on a drinking water supply contaminated by arsenic, nitrates and other contaminants, though most communities blend or treat their water to make it safe, according to a new report by the State Water Resources Control Board released last week.

The report, ordered by the state Legislature, shows that from 2002 to 2010, 680 out of a little more than 3,000 community water systems in the state relied on one or more contaminated groundwater wells. Those contaminated wells served 21 million people.

Arsenic was the most-detected naturally occurring contaminant, while nitrate was the human-caused contaminant detected the most. Chemical fertilizers and livestock manure are the main source of nitrate contamination in groundwater.

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 98 percent of Californians on public water supply are served safe drinking water thanks to treatment or other methods.

But some communities cannot afford water treatment or other alternatives. The report said 265 community water systems have delivered water from wells that exceeded nitrate, arsenic or other standards. Most are located in rural Madera, Kern and Tulare counties and serve contaminated water to about 2 million Californians.

 

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