Testing expands to Northwest Fresno as city's water woes continue

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Out of 180 Fresno homes tested, 39 water samples showed lead contamination above the EPA action level of 15 parts per billion. (KFSN)

The latest area to check for tainted water is north of Herndon and Blackstone Avenues.

All of the homes were built between 1988 and 2000.

The Micheli family is in the middle of a $10,000 re-plumbing job at their Fresno home.

All of the galvanized pipe are being replaced which was causing discoloration in their water.

Inside a large piece of old pipe which connected to their meter, you can see the rust and corrosion which has formed inside.

"It's right where it hits the galvanized pipe," Karen Micheli explained. "So it's like so why is it so badly corroded there and up towards the house it wasn't as corroded as that? I don't know what the answer to that is but it's pretty disgusting."

Out of 180 northeast Fresno homes tested, 39 water samples showed lead contamination above the EPA action level of 15 parts per billion.

Karen's home once tested at 109 parts per billion.

"It should be at zero," she said. "Nothing over that is safe for anyone."

Fresno's Public Utilities Director Tom Esqueda says sub-standard pipes without proper coating is one factor causing the lead problem.

And soil type may be another.

"We've been trying to identify and correlate what is the things that might be contributing to the corrosion and the randomness," he said.

But Micheli says residents complained about discolored water 12 years ago after a new water treatment plant went online.

"If they had started doing now what they are doing now in 2004, 2005," She said. "Our galvanized pipes would have been protected and wouldn't have been corroded as badly as they are now."

The city now plans to test 20 homes in northwest Fresno - north of Herndon, west of Blackstone built between 1988 and 2000.

"Same builder, same manufacturer, pipe supplier," Esqueda said. "What do their conditions look like?"

Instead of further testing, Micheli wants solutions.

"Very frustrating knowing that potentially it was a problem that could have been resolved prior to us going through our whole entire house replumbed," she said.
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