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Arvin water restoration still delayed following malfunction to wells, boil alert still in effect

Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 20:52:49-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Thousands of community members and more than 60 local businesses in Arvin are without clean water following a boil alert that went into effect Wednesday night.

Arvin Community Service District Spokesperson, Raul Barraza said it started last week when water wells stopped functioning properly in Arvin.

"A malfunction on the motor on well number 14 and then well 13 was only producing a hundred gallons per minute," Barraza said.

Barraza said the whole city of Arvin usually operates off of four water wells but recent construction on one well-led officials to shut it down temporarily. When a recent loss in pressure happened to another well they were left with one well and a half-a-million gallon storage tank.

Since then, two water wells came back online, according to Barraza.

Officials said they quickly notified school districts, businesses, and community members once they realized they may have to issue a boil alert.

"Kern High School District made the decision to dismiss them a little earlier," Barraza said.

Officials halted all irrigation, issued the alert Wednesday night, extracted water samples from various city sites, then submitted the samples to the state lab at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Barraza said result wait times vary between 18 to 24 hours.

Officials have been passing out clean water at the Arvin Community Services District to those with proof of residency.

"It's not a big deal," said Arvin resident, Vanessa Fernandez. "You can still take a shower, wash your hands, wash dishes."

However, for more than 60 local business owners it's a different story.

"We can not sell no meat, no bread and everyone has been losing. Employees are not working," La Mexicana Market owner, Fahd Aizah said.

Barraza said most of the Arvin business had to completely close. He said most of the businesses impacted are located on Bear Mountain Drive, including Aizah's La Mexicana Market.

Aizah told 23ABC News that he has already taken a big hit and if officials don't resolve the water before Sunday, it will be hard to recoup the financial loss.

"I think it will be over $20,000," Aizah said.

Barraza said the district is also working on a mitigation project that will bring three new wells, another one-million-gallon storage tank and a new state of the art system that will be a more reliable water source for the city in the future.

The Arvin Community Services District held a meeting with business owners again Thursday to discuss the issue.

Arvin District Officials said they are grateful for the community's patience but clean water won't be restored to customers until they get the results back from the state.