A local water district is set to continue delivering clean drinking water to the Oasis Mobile Home Park in Thermal, where federal authorities previously detected elevated levels of arsenic in the water system, it was announced Wednesday.
The Coachella Valley Water District will extend the service until the end of April due to a shortage of bottled water for sale in the area due to the uptick in shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic, the district said.
“This is important for the 1,900 residents that live in this community,” said Castulo Estrada, vice president of the district’s board of directors. “We are happy to be able to help in any way we can.”
The district previously approved an agreement with Riverside County to deliver county-subsidized water to park residents. With the new announcement, the district said it will begin paying for the service, estimated to cost $3,000 a week.
The water will be paid for by the district’s “domestic water non-rate revenue,” officials said.
“The County of Riverside really stepped up and provided funding to ensure these residents had access to drinking water,” Estrada said. “Now that their funds have been exhausted, we are here to step in and help.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in August that groundwater tests at the privately owned and operated Oasis Mobile Home Park in the 88-700 block of Avenue 70 revealed the presence of arsenic at 16 to 97 parts per billion. The federally recognized maximum limit is 10 parts per billion for drinking water, meaning the park’s tests reached almost 10 times the federal legal limit.
The EPA emergency order mandated in August that park managers provide one gallon of safe drinking water to each of the facility’s residents daily.
Failure to comply with the order could result in fines as high as $23,963 per day, according to the EPA.
The district’s delivered water will supplement drinking water already being distributed by the owners of the park, the district said.
Water will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Oasis Mobile Home Park is located on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation and is largely home to migrants who work in agriculture throughout the eastern Coachella Valley.
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