‘Water is life’: Delano residents express concerns about contaminated water

September 10, 2019 /

After the Delano City water system recently failed to meet water drinking standards, residents voiced their concerns at Monday’s city council meeting.

Delano residents were recently informed the water system has levels of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane — also known as 1,2,3-TCP — a toxic man-made chemical compound found in drinking water supplies and known to cause cancer, according to the California State Water Resource Control Board.

“I do not feel safe knowing that if I drink a glass of water or made a jug of lemonade from the sink, I could develop cancer,” said Delano resident Paola Garcia. “I do not feel safe knowing that my family is at risk, my friends are at risk. I do not feel safe knowing that my faucet runs toxic water meant for drinking.”

“Therefore I urge you to take action,” Garcia continued. “Our dangerous water system is not an issue that can be swept under the rug and forgotten. Water is life.”

City engineer Roman Dowling gave a brief overview of the situation at the meeting. In July of 2017, the State of California adopted a new TCP maximum contamination level of .005 micrograms, which required the City of Delano to begin quarterly sampling. In July of 2018, the City of Delano received a Compliance Order from the State Water Resource Control Board, Division of Drinking Water, for failing to comply with the new TCP maximum contamination level on four wells. This order gave the City until July 13, 2021 to comply with the TCP maximum contamination level and required Quarterly Notices to its residents. Last year in August, the City submitted a Corrective Action Plan, and implemented the first phases in September of 2018. The goal was to see if the contaminated wells could be modified to avoid future contamination. Experts found this could not be done with an acceptable level of TCP.

In May, the City Council commissioned the design of a TCP Removal Plant for three of the affected wells. In July, the Delano City Council authorized staff to submit a grant application for $5 million for the TCP Removal Plant.

“Water is a fundamental building block of life,” Jose Orellana, a community organizer for Loud4Tomorrow, said to the city council Monday. “Our water is known to have a toxic chemical that may cause cancer. This is unacceptable. It’s 2019.”

Others shared similar feelings.

“I do not believe your constituents should be exposed to a source of cancer,” said Alexis Arellano.

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Marco Rodriguez

Marco Rodriguez is a youth reporter from Delano for South Kern Sol.