Senator Alex Padilla visits Dos Palos to tour aging water infrastructure

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Senator Alex Padilla was joined by Congressman Jim Costa on a tour of the aging water infrastructure of Dos Palos on Friday, allowing Senator Padilla the chance to see the desperate need for clean water in the Central Valley.

"We're the richest country in the world," Congressman Costa said. "And to have cities like Dos Palos and others where their water system shuts down or they can't meet state or federal drinking water requirements is simply unconscionable. Period."

The two were joined by local politicians and government officials in front of the local water treatment plant, which was shut down for days in 2020 after it became clogged with algae.

RELATED: Water may not flow in Dos Palos for 3 days due to algae problem

To avoid that issue again, federal, state and local leaders worked to secure more than $11 million in funding to pay for a new water treatment plant.

That's welcome news for residents like Judi Coleman, but she says it won't matter if old pipes remain.

"After that water plant is built and it's got beautiful water coming out of it, we will never have good, fresh water we can drink until all the pipes in town are replaced," Coleman said.

Senator Padilla plans to address concerns like that through one of the first bills he's introduced: the Lead-Free Drinking Water for All Act, which would invest $45 billion to replace every lead pipe in America over the next ten years.

"So I'm proud to support the legislation that will strengthen our water system and solve these historic injustices," Senator Padilla said.

Local farmer Joe del Bosque gave the senator a tour of his farm to highlight the struggles of farmers during the drought and to make sure they're part of that priority too.

"Absolutely it excites me because we've been waiting a long time to try to get something done with this water situation," del Bosque said. "We've been struggling with water issues for decades here on the west side, so I'm very excited and hopeful that something can get done."

The groundbreaking for the new water treatment plant, which will be built right next to the current plant, is expected to begin this fall.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.