Test results say Orange Cove water safe to drink


High levels of nitrates were discovered in the city's water recently.

The city got word late Wednesday that eight test results from around the city show the water is safe for residents to drink.

Still, city officials are asking people to conserve water.

Residents from Orange Cove lined up around the block to get boxes of bottled water they could drink, cook and brush their teeth with.

Last week the city of Orange Cove discovered the city's water had nearly double the amount of nitrates its legally supposed to.

"Nobody should drink that kind of water. Not only the stink but it came out black from my own home and I was very disturbed," Vice Mayor Victor Lopez said.

Orange Cove's Vice Mayor Victor Lopez says the city is dipping deep into its reserves to resolve the problem.

Normally Orange Cove's water comes from the Friant-Kern Canal and into a water treatment plant. But after the canal was closed down for maintenance the water was pumped from nitrate-contaminated irrigation wells near the town.

City officials have already spent a million and a half dollars on a rented filter system and bottled water to give to residents.

"Disturbs me because mistakes were made and now we're paying the price but it's our responsibility and we're going to correct the problem," Lopez said.

"It's too bad for everybody we all have the same need for water and that's why we're in line every day," resident Dora Lizaola said.

Lizaola has lived in Orange Cove for 45 years. She says the water contamination has been a big burden to people here, especially over the Christmas holiday.

The city council will be to discuss permanently resolve the problem by building several ponding basins on 15 acres on the east side of town. Officials want to purchase the land by next month so they never have to worry about drinking unsafe water again.

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