EPA Issues Emergency Orders to Four Mobile Home Parks in Thermal, Calif., to Ensure Drinking Water is Safe
THERMAL (March. 22, 2022) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued emergency orders under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to four mobile home park water systems, requiring the mobile home park owners to comply with federal drinking water safety requirements and to identify and correct problems with their drinking water systems that present a danger to residents. The mobile home parks -- Arellano Mobile Home Park, Castro Ranch, Gonzalez Mobile Home Park, and Sandoval Mobile Home Park -- are all located on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians’ Reservation in California. None of the water systems were previously registered with EPA and will now be required to comply with SDWA regulations.
"These emergency orders support EPA’s larger effort in the Eastern Coachella Valley to ensure all drinking water systems comply with SDWA and provide safe drinking water,” said Martha Guzman, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Mobile home park owners and all levels of government must protect the health of residents and comply with federal law.”
Today’s announcement applies to four separate water systems, which EPA inspected and sampled in November 2021. The systems' current source of drinking water is groundwater that has naturally occurring arsenic. Arsenic is a known carcinogen and drinking high levels over many years can increase the chance of lung, bladder, and skin cancers, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and neurological damage. The regulatory Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for arsenic in drinking water is 10 parts per billion (ppb).
Based on the sample results, all the systems are currently serving water that exceed the arsenic MCL:
Arellano Mobile Home Park: The system serves approximately 26 residents and has arsenic levels ranging from 14 ppb to 16 ppb.
Castro Ranch: The system serves approximately 40 residents and has arsenic levels ranging from 18 ppb to 19 ppb.
Gonzalez Mobile Home Park: The system serves approximately 40 residents and has arsenic levels ranging from 28 ppb to 29 ppb.
Sandoval Mobile Home Park: The water system serves approximately 37 residents and has arsenic levels ranging from 15 ppb to 17 ppb.
Under the terms of EPA’s emergency orders, the owners of Arellano Mobile Home Park, Castro Ranch, Gonzalez Mobile Home Park, and Sandoval Mobile Home Park are required to:
- provide at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day at no cost for every individual served by the system;
- submit and implement an EPA-approved compliance plan to reduce arsenic below the MCL; and
- properly monitor the systems’ water and report findings to EPA.
EPA will continue to oversee the systems’ efforts to follow SDWA requirements and may levy civil penalties if the park owners fail to meet the compliance provisions in the emergency orders.
The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians have no direct control or ownership of the water systems. EPA works closely with the Tribe and has consulted their leadership about the violations.
For more information on EPA's drinking water program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water.