Dirty Drinking Water in California School Drinking Fountains

A point-of-use filter at Felecita Park in Arvin, California, helps treat arsenic and other contaminants in the water. 
It’s too risky for tens of thousands of children in the San Joaquin Valley to drink water at their schools due to chronic contamination by chemicals, pesticides and other toxins.

Reef-Sunset Unified School District Superintendent David East is worried about water. Not because of the drought – record rains this past winter ended five years of dry times. Rather, East, whose district encompasses the small towns of Avenal and Kettleman City on the San Joaquin Valley’s west side, is worried about the safety of the water that the 2,700 students in his school district are being given to drink.

That’s because arsenic levels in the drinking water at some schools in the San Joaquin Valley exceed the maximum federal safety levels by as much as three times. And arsenic is not the only threat to schoolchildren. High levels of pesticides, nitrate, bacteria and naturally occurring uranium also contaminate groundwater in many rural parts of the state.

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