Toxins in Kettleman City Water

FRESNO, Calif. There is so much arsenic in the water that very few people risk drinking it. It's not just a bad situation for residents; it's also preventing the area from growing into more than just a quick stop between other towns.

Monday night's dinner menu at the Morales house is chicken sopa and Mac & Cheese. What will not be on the menu is water from the tap.

"It's not good. We pay so much for water and we can't use it. Just to wash and our clothes get really yellow," said Faustina Morales.

Morales pays about $100 a month for water that does not meet federal health standards ... there is too much arsenic in it. Health officials claim arsenic poisoning can lead to organ failure and even death.

This 23-year-old mother only allows her twin boys to drink bottle water or juice.

Morales said, "They like to play in the water a lot. They like to be using the water, washing their hands and then they could drink it and get sick."

Arsenic is not the only concern here. A 2001 moratorium prevents businesses from moving in until arsenic levels meet federal standards.

"You might see some building but it's self help and they're building where there's already houses. All they're doing is tearing down and remodeling and building,' said Kettleman City official Aletha Ware.

Ware and Kings County Supervisors want to build a water treatment facility on five acres of land in town. $3-Million was set aside in 2004 for this project but the economy tanked. Now county leaders want to continue pursuing money to fund this $10-million project.

Supervisor Tony Barba said, "And give us more grants than loans because the people of Kettleman City can't afford to pay any more than they're paying now."

With the E.P.A. investigation into a nearby toxic dump supervisors hope they have the momentum to settle the water issue once and for all.

This arsenic issue shines the light on other towns in Kings County. Both Hanford and Lemoore deal with high levels of this toxin. Corcoran just spent $13-million on a treatment facility to clean their water.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.