Target: California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Goal: Provide clean drinking water for residents of Monterey County
For decades, the drinking water in Monterey County has contained nitrate levels that exceed state and federal standards. As of 2011, the county declared the water undrinkable and required bottled water for drinking and cooking. This petition demands immediate action from the CDPH to find a clean and affordable water source for residents.
The primary source of contamination is a nearby farm in San Lucas called Mission Ranches. The well that supplies water to most homes in the area is located on these fertilizer-intensive farmlands. Nitrates from fertilizer are extremely dangerous, especially because they’re impossible to detect outside of a testing lab. Nitrates spread quickly from crops into groundwater, where they can exist unnoticed for decades without breaking down. They damage hemoglobin in the bloodstream, causing a disrupted flow of oxygen. Minor symptoms of exposure range from headaches and fatigue to more serious cases of “blue-baby syndrome” in infants.
This persistent contamination has ultimately caused the local economy to suffer as businesses close and people move away from the area. Assemblyman Luis Alejo has been a leader in promoting legislation to improve drinking water across California. Despite bipartisan approval for nine of the ten bills authored by Alejo to decontaminate the water, funding has been difficult to acquire. The California Department of Public Health has failed to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act by not spending $455 million in funds granted by the EPA to address this problem. This inaction is reprehensible as people still lack access to potable water.
The complexity of this issue will require a multifaceted and thoroughly researched solution to ensure it won’t have any long-term consequences on the health of residents or the environment.
Dear California Department of Public Health,
For two years, the residents of Monterey County have lacked access to clean drinking water due to excessive nitrate contamination. Few developments have been made to provide this essential resource as lawmakers struggle to obtain funding or devise a long-term solution.
Your department was recently warned by the EPA for failing to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act and not spending $455 million in funds granted to decontaminate the county’s water supply.
As Assemblyman Luis Alejo has declared, “Drinking water is a basic human right.” We demand that the CDPH recognizes the urgency of this issue and ensures that residents of Monterey County have access to clean and affordable drinking water.
[Your Name Here]
Phtoto Credit: Richard Masoner via Flickr