U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz and the region’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Martha Guzman updated residents at Oasis Mobile Home Park in Thermal on Wednesday about ongoing efforts to provide clean water there, as well as in other parts of the eastern Coachella Valley.
For decades, residents of different mobile home parks in the area have been dealing with water contaminated with arsenic, which, in large amounts, is known to cause rashes, skin disorders or even coma or death. In the past six months alone, the EPA has cited seven parks in the east valley for having water that contains arsenic levels above federal legal limits — even from a faucet equipped with a filter — and thousands of times above state public health guidelines.
Guzman said there were “unseen levels of contamination” in the region but suggested that funding from the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, a state program that aims to provide $130 million per year to improve different small water systems in California in violation of drinking water standards, and other agencies could help establish a solution in the east valley.
“This part of the valley has long been on the state’s list of chronic disinvestment,” Guzman told The Desert Sun. “We’re working together, with local government and organizations, to ensure nobody gets left behind. There’s alignment among agencies now. Twenty years ago, the Coachella Valley Water District wouldn’t have even taken this on.”