Isabel Solorio (left) and Carrie Bonner talk about water issues outside the Lanare Community Center. (Alice Daniel/KQED)
By Alice Daniel, KQED
There are no streetlights here in Lanare, no sidewalks, no sewer system in this tiny, rural enclave of 600 smack dab in the middle of farming country in the Central Valley.
There is a community center and on this night, many locals are here dancing and eating.
“Tonight I make salad and my friend makes beans, and I make beans so just, you know, everybody help,” said Isabel Solorio.
Many people stopped drinking the tap water years ago because it has high levels of arsenic.
Solorio is the president of a local group that holds fundraisers twice a year to support the community center. The group also advocates for clean drinking water –- something Lanare doesn’t have. Lanare did not come out of an organized planning process. Like many unincorporated communities in the San Joaquin Valley, the town arose out of the fields surrounding it.
“It was a lot of labor camps, they call them,” said Carrie Bonner, a Lanare resident still tall and strong at 89. “Cotton chopping, picking and cutting grapes. … Whatever season it was, that’s what they would do.” Continue reading
The drinking water in the Tulare County community of Tooleville is contaminated with nitrates. (Photo: Sasha Khokha)
As Sasha Khokha detailed on The California Report this morning, a major U.C. Davis report released today found that more than 250,000 people living in some of California’s prime farming areas are at risk of drinking water contaminated with nitrates. The contamination is largely from fertilizer used widely across California farmland and from animal manure from large dairies and other confined animal facilities.
Nitrates are linked to health problems including thyroid illnesses, some cancers and a type of “blue baby syndrome,” a blood disorder caused by a high concentration of nitrates which can be fatal to babies.
The new report–Addressing Nitrate in California’s Drinking Water–looks at the Tulare Lake Basin, including Fresno and Bakersfield, as well as the Salinas Valley, including Salinas and areas near Monterey. Continue reading