State of California's drinking water improvement plan gets OK from feds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California health officials have received the go-ahead, and the funds, to start providing what many of us take for granted: safe drinking water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved California's plan to improve its drinking water systems after earlier threatening to cut off funding. 

The EPA had warned that the state was not properly distributing funds meant for water improvements.

(To Read the List of Program Plan Systems, Go Here:

According to the Capitol Television News Service, there are more than 7,000 public water systems in California. Health officials said the majority are safe. But some, particularly in the Central Valley are not.

Areas in Kern County include; Lake Isabella, Delano and Arvin.
Many residents in Arvin tell 23 ABC that drinking their tap water is outright dangerous.

"I don't use the water from the faucet to make soups, drink from it and I'm even scared to wash my vegetables in our tap water," said Nicole Matthews.

Mathews is very concerned for her kids and makes special trips to the market just to get water.

Clarissa Ortega is equally concerned about the water, so much so, that she is even afraid to bath in it.

 "The water is so bad, it turns your skin red when you take a shower," said Ortega.

The CTNS said work on a fix has already begun, but the EPA approval means more than 600 million dollars in federal funds will be available for work on improvements over the next three years.

The Director of the California of Public Health, Dr. Ron Chapman, told the CTNS that the majority of the projects will directly treat contaminated water. 

So, water systems, the most common contaminates are nitrates and arsenic. And it costs money to put in treatment systems that filter the water so that it's able to be consumed by the people of California and meet public health standards.

Most Californians drink water from public systems, but more than a million get their water from private wells, which are not regulated by government agencies.

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