LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it has reached settlement agreements with five public drinking water systems in Los Angeles County that collectively serve about 1,600 residents, mostly in Lancaster.
The agreements require the systems to ensure they meet federal drinking water standards. System owners have agreed they will provide customers with access to alternate, safe water until upgrades are complete.
“Safe drinking water is the cornerstone of public health protection,” Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker said in a statement released on Monday, Aug. 27. “EPA is pleased these systems will ensure their customers receive drinking water that meets all public health standards.”
As part of the agreements, the five water systems will reduce levels of arsenic in the drinking water by installing new treatment systems, building wells or blending with other drinking water sources. Each system is required to provide the EPA with quarterly progress reports and participate in quarterly meetings with the federal agency and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board on its progress toward compliance.
In addition, each system owner has agreed to provide alternate drinking water for customers until the system is able to serve water that meets standards.
The water systems are:
— Lands Project Mutual Water Company in Lancaster, which serves 1,500 residents and will pay a $4,193 penalty for failing to meet compliance measures specified in a prior settlement agreement;
— Winterhaven Mobile Estates Public Water System in Lancaster, which serves 25 residents and will implement changes to its system to ensure compliance by Oct. 31, 2021;
— Lancaster Park Mobile Home Park Public Water System, which serves 25 residents and is developing a compliance plan for EPA approval to provide drinking water to meet federal standards for arsenic by June 30, 2022; and
— Mettler Valley Mutual Water Company in Lancaster, which serves 25 residents and is developing an arsenic compliance plan for EPA approval to provide drinking water to meet federal standards for arsenic by Dec. 31, 2022.
— Village Mobile Home Park Public Water System in Gardena, which serves 25 residents and is developing an arsenic compliance plan to provide drinking water to meet federal standards for arsenic by June 30, 2022;
“Everyone deserves to have safe drinking water,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “It is simply unacceptable to be without clean water, and we are mindful of the need to work together with residents and our federal and state partners to ensure that these five water systems in LA County are upgraded to meet today’s standards.”
Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment and as a by-product of some agricultural and industrial activities. It can enter drinking water through the ground or as runoff into surface water sources. Drinking water containing excess arsenic is linked to skin damage, circulatory problems and an increased risk of cancer.