Kettleman City gets clean water funding

FRESNO, Calif.

The California Department of Public Health announced the agency will commit more than eight million dollars in funding to provide a safe source of water.

The small Kings County farming community is located near Highway 41 and Interstate Five.

Despite the big announcement, it will likely be three years before Kettleman City has a clean source of drinking water. That's because the project hinges on several conditions that have to happen before the state hands over the money.

Residents are eager for the project to get off the ground. Aletha Ware, 75, is ready for Kettleman City to get started on a multi-million dollar project to bring clean drinking water to her community. She said, "I'm excited about it because we're hearing now what we've not heard and what I've been waiting to hear."

The more than 40 year resident serves as chairman of the Kettleman City Services District and has listened to the complaints about the town's contaminated water for years. She said, "Waiting on the money. They promised it to us, but we need the okay. We need to know."

Her anticipation runs deep. That's because she wears a pacemaker and uses only 25% of her heart. She wants nothing more than to see construction crews break ground on a new water-treatment plant before her time is up. She said, "If there's anything I can do to push it, I will because I know they say its going to be probably three years."

Three years before she and her neighbors will see clean water flowing from their taps. That's because the project relies heavily on the city's ability to purchase water from the Kings River, get the ok to deliver it through the California Aqueduct and treat it before families are able drink it.

Among residents concerns, the high levels of arsenic and benzene in the water. Both exceed state and federal levels and have been linked to cancer.

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