Orange Cove water still not drinkable

December 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Getting a drink of water is still a lot of work in Orange Cove.

Residents there have been unable to use their tap water because of chemical contamination.

Water supplies have been trucked into the community since last Thursday.

They are not too happy but trying to be patient.

Orange Cove water hasn't been safe to drink for at least four days, and this Christmas Eve residents are still lining up to get clean water, and lug it home.

The water lines are still long. Tank trucks full of water along with cases of bottled water are pouring in.

"This is our fourth day of hauling water into orange cover. I'm hauling potable water in from Reedley city and we are getting two semi loads a day from Pepsi and Alhambra," Tom Greenwood of the Orange Cove Fire Dept. said.

None thousand gallons of water in trucks, along with about 40 thousand bottles of water are coming in every day. Hauling containers and cases of water is getting to be a lot of work and many residents aren't happy about the situation.

"Very inconvenient because I'm not bathing in it. I'm not washing dishes in it. I do it all with bottled water because who knows, it could end up making you sick. I won't give it to my dog either," Orange Cove resident Carol Ferrera said.

The problem is the city's normal water supply comes from the Friant-Kern Canal into the city's water treatment plant. But the canal was shut down for maintenance and the city had to pipe in water from irrigation wells in the orchards that surround the town. That water turned out to be contaminated with nitrates, possibly from fertilizer and other agricultural contaminants. The pose a health threat, especially to children and the elderly.

"Definitely I'm worried about my kids health. I'd rather see them drinking some of this clean stuff than that contaminated water we've got going on right now," Jacob Sandoval said.

The city has brought in big filtration devices to clean the water, and crews are testing the supply several times a day. So far the contamination level is dropping.

The good news is that the contamination is down by half, and it's just above levels considered safe.

The water department is sending samples to the state and hoping to get the all clear within two or three more days, but until then, it's a holiday season of standing in line for water.


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