Study Says Water is Unsafe in East Valley
UC Davis study lists contaminants over recommended levels
Residents of the Eastern Coachella Valley live every day with elevated environmental hazards in their air and water, according to a new University of California, Davis, study.
These hazards include drinking water with average chemical concentrations far above state and federal recommended levels.
"This study provides a blueprint for collaborative action to lift up the rural eastern Coachella Valley as a sustainable and equitable region." said Jonathan London, lead researcher for the report and director of the UC Davis Center for Regional Change.
The report, "Revealing the Invisible Coachella Valley: Putting Cumulative Environmental Vulnerabilities on the Map," by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change was released Wednesday. The report can be found here
Researchers worked with local community leaders to identify high-priority issues and gathered the latest available public data for Riverside County to report their findings. They looked at both environmental hazards and a "social vulnerability index," which includes housing quality and economic conditions, London said.
The Eastern Coachella Valley has much higher concentrations of pollution in its water bodies than the Western Coachella Valley and Riverside County overall, they found. Drinking water wells have average chemical concentrations far above the state and federal Maximum Contaminant Levels for arsenic, chromium 6, perchlorate, and nitrates, researchers said.
In addition, some areas in the Western Coachella Valley, such as La Quinta, have elevated levels of chromium 6. Portions of the western valley also show high degrees of cumulative environmental hazards and social vulnerability. These areas include Desert Hot Springs and parts of Cabazon, Sky Valley, West Garnet and Desert Edge.
Significantly higher levels of pesticides are applied in the Eastern Coachella Valley than the Western Coachella Valley and the rest of Riverside County, adding to pollution levels in air and water, researchers found.
This study was developed with a diverse set of community partners from the Eastern Coachella Valley who will use the report's information in their efforts to promote sustainable and equitable growth in their region, London said.