EPA Issues Emergency Orders to Three Mobile Home Parks in Thermal, Calif., to Ensure Drinking Water is Safe for Residents
Agency also fines Indian Village Mobile Home Park for failing to comply with previous order
THERMAL, Calif. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued three emergency orders under the Safe Drinking Water Act to different mobile home park public water systems located on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe’s Reservation in California. The orders require the owners of Mora Mobile Home Park, Valladares Mobile Home Park, and Toledo Mobile Home Park to comply with federal drinking water requirements and to identify and correct problems with their drinking water systems that present a danger to residents. In addition, the agency issued a $3,021 penalty to Indian Village Mobile Home Park for failing to comply with a 2020 order.
"We have recently completed inspections and sampling of a number of smaller drinking water systems in Indian country that exceed arsenic drinking water standards,” said Martha Guzman, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These orders require measures to achieve compliance and access to safe drinking water at these mobile home communities.”
The systems' current source of drinking water is groundwater that has naturally occurring arsenic. The regulatory Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for arsenic is 10 parts per billion (ppb) for drinking water. 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.
Today’s announcement applies to four separate water systems:
Mora Mobile Home Park: The system serves approximately 28 residents through eight service connections. EPA inspected the water system in November 2021 and found that the system was serving water that exceeded the MCL, based on sampling results ranging from 52 ppb to 63 ppb. At the time of the inspection, the water system was not registered with the EPA.
Valladares Mobile Home Park: The system serves approximately 24 residents through 6 known service connections. EPA inspected the water system in July 2021 and found that the system was serving water that exceeded the MCL, based on sampling results ranging from 77 ppb to 82 ppb. In addition, Valladares Mobile Home Park utilizes a wastewater disposal system consisting of three large capacity cesspools, which EPA banned in 2005 due to their high potential for contaminating drinking-water sources.
Toledo Mobile Home Park: The system serves approximately 68 residents through 16 service connections. EPA inspected the water system in November 2021 and found that the system was serving water that exceeded the MCL, based on sampling results ranging from 63 ppb to 65 ppb. At the time of the inspection, the water system was not registered with the EPA.
Indian Village Mobile Home Park: The water system serves approximately 35 residents through 13 service connections. EPA found the system was not complying with a 2020 drinking water order by not employing a certified drinking water operator. The owner of the water system agreed to pay a $3,021 penalty.
Under the terms of the agency’s emergency orders, the owners of the Mora Mobile Home Park, Valladares Mobile Home Park, and Toledo Mobile Home Park water systems are required to:
- Inform all residents of EPA’s sampling that identified high levels of arsenic in the systems’ drinking water and instruct all residents to immediately stop consuming the drinking water.
- Provide at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day at no cost for every individual served by the system.
- Submit a long-term compliance plan for EPA approval.
- Properly monitor the systems’ water and report findings to the EPA.
EPA will continue to oversee the systems’ efforts to follow Safe Drinking Water Act requirements and may levy civil penalties if the park owners fail to meet the compliance provisions in the emergency orders.
The Torres Martinez Tribe has no direct control or ownership of the water systems. EPA works closely with the Torres Martinez 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