Written by The Business Journal Staff
Kettleman City’s 10-year struggle to provide clean drinking water faces a new delay.
The local water district was forced to put off accepting state monies to build a treatment plant last month due to possible endangered species on the building site.
Kettleman City Community Service District Engineer Joe McGahan said plans to acquire land from Chevron are on hold while a new environmental study is done.
“We had planned to formally accept the $8 million state grant this March, but now we must wait till March 2017,” he said.
Once state funds are in hand and bids are accepted, construction of the surface water treatment plant next to the California Aqueduct will take another 18 months, he said, adding that residents will need bottled water until the new plant produces clean water at the tap, perhaps by 2020.
The 1,400 residents in this low-income community have two wells serving the town, both high in arsenic levels. The community made news in recent years on reports of a high incidence of birth defects. It’s been one hurdle after another to get good tap water to homes.
Now if they find a blunt nose leopard lizard, it could force more delay and frustration.
Typically the idea of changing the endangered species law has come from farmers upset over pumping restrictions. Environmental supporters have just as typically pushed back.
But now California Senate candidates are taking up the idea of a waiver of the species law this week — to improve the water supply across the state of California.