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Arsenic Contaminated Schools to Get Safe Drinking Water



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Five Head Start centers and four schools in the south Kern County communities of Arvin and Lamont are getting relief from arsenic contamination in public schools. Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), Arvin Union School District, and Community Water Center worked with Committee for A Better Arvin (CBA) and several donation partners to deliver safe drinking water to local school sites by installing water filters at playground and classroom drinking fountain sites and kitchen cooking areas.

Throughout the valley, more than a hundred communities without safe water are working on long-term solutions to address drinking water contamination. Unfortunately, many of these small community water systems will have to wait years for improvements. In the meantime, residents and now schools are increasingly looking for interim measures they can take to reduce exposure to common contaminants, primarily arsenic and nitrate.

In south Kern County where many community drinking water supplies contain arsenic over the legal Health standard, residents and local leaders concerned about student exposure have taken action. Arsenic is a drinking water contaminant that can have serious Health effects such as reduced mental functioning in children; cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, liver, and prostate; and Type 2 diabetes.

“Since last year, we have been working with the schools and centers to assess their specific drinking water needs by developing an inventory of contamination sites and analyzing different filters on the market,” said Shen Huang, Technical Analyst of Community Water Center. “Seeing these children get safe drinking water is very rewarding for us and our community partners.”

As a result of this project, a total of about 3700 students and staff will be able to access safe drinking water at their campuses.

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