Advisory: Senate Health Leader to Visit Communities Living with Contaminated Drinking Water

June 13, 2017

Senator Hernandez will tour parts of the Central Valley, speaking with community members

California is facing a drinking water crisis because more than one million Californians are exposed to unsafe drinking water in their homes and schools each year. Some Californians have lived with this problem for a decade or more. This is a statewide issue with a large concentration of impacted communities located in the Central Valley, with Latino and low-income communities disproportionately affected.

As chair of the Senate Health Committee, Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D. will visit communities in the Central Valley to see the negative impacts of this crisis. He will be meeting with individuals who live with contaminated drinking water and listen to their stories.

WHO: Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D., chair of the Senate Health Committee

Representatives of three nonprofits which have been working with affected community members to find solutions to this issue: Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Clean Water Action and Community Water Center

WHEN: Friday, June 16, 2017 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

WHERE: Stops include East Orosi, Lanare and Alpaugh

MEDIA: All media is invited to attend the entire tour or parts of the tour. We will be stopping at community members’ homes and there will be opportunities for community members and legislators to address the press.

BACKGROUND: In early February, the State Water Resources Control Board released a map showing public water systems that are currently out of compliance with federal standards for contaminants. There are upwards of 300 systems that do not meet this standard. These systems serve roughly 450,000 people, including schools and daycare centers with thousands of children. Latino and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by unsafe drinking water.

Common drinking water contaminants include nitrate, disinfectant byproducts, arsenic and lead. The presence of contaminants in drinking water can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses, reproductive problems, neurological disorders and some cancers.