Oct 14, 2021

Arvin, California, Achieves Federal Standard for Arsenic in Drinking Water

This comes after a 13-year process that resulted in five new groundwater wells serving about 20,000 people

drinking water

Federal and state officials announced that Arvin, California, has met the federal Safe Drinking Water Act's arsenic health standard. 

This comes after a 13-year process that resulted in five new groundwater wells serving about 20,000 people, reported The Bakersfield Californian.

Residents previously used tokens to get safe drinking water through free vending machines. Recent tests reported the city's new wells produce water containing 7.3 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic, which is below the federal standard of 10 ppb. Earlier readings ranged from 20 to 56 ppb, which were reported in 2008.

Arvin became the last of 11 California communities ruled out of compliance in 2008, according to The Bakersfield Californian.

Officials from the U.S. EPA and the California State Water Resources Control Board worked with the Arvin Community Services District to provide safe water for residents while working on the new wells.

"By bringing the system into full compliance with the SDWA, the district is doing its part to protect human health and provide safe drinking water to the community," said Deborah Jordan, the EPA's Pacific Southwest acting regional administrator in a news release, reported The Bakersfield Californian.

Arsenic is thought to have occurred naturally in Arvin's water supply.

According to Raul Barraza Jr., the local district's general manager, the new water sources are capable of supplying Arvin with water for another four to five years even if the current drought conditions persists. 

The state water board contributed approximately $20 million for drilling, construction and development of new wells. Development of the wells include pumps connecting water to the city's existing distribution system. The EPA paid money to close and replace a drinking water well that was at risk of contamination from a superfund site as well, added The Bakersfield Californian.

Arvin was supposed to come into compliance with the federal standard in 2010, but the city missed multiple deadlines. This resulted in an administrative consent order that took effect in September 2015.

A new well was producing water tainted by arsenic, so the zones thought to be releasing the chemical were isolated and ultimately the well was abandoned.

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