Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Lanare’s closest option for healthy water was contaminated

Folks in the southwest Fresno County town of Lanare avoid drinking arsenic-laced water from their taps. They thought four vending machines in nearby Riverdale were their best option for healthy water.

Now the machines are gone, according to California Rural Legal Assistance, representing Lanare’s 590 residents. The machines apparently were not filtering the water in Riverdale, which also has arsenic contamination.

CRLA said water from the machines was tested at more than three times the safe level. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the threshold is 10 parts per billion.

Instead of the four-mile drive to Riverdale, Lanare residents must drive as far as Fresno, 20 miles away, to buy water for drinking and cooking.

As part of a series titled Living in a Toxic Land, The Bee published a story last month about the environmental risks people must live with every day in Lanare.

The town has no schools, health care or sewer service. The tainted well water is the most immediate problem.

Veronica Garibay, a CRLA community education outreach coordinator, says the Lanare Community Service District has applied to the California Department of Public Health for $50,000 to fund interim water solutions. Some of the money could help provide a water vending machine in Lanare.

If the town gets the money, the machine could be installed at the Lanare Community Center.

State’s health screening tool changes for Lanare, Riverdale zip code

You can look up your zip code on the final version of the state’s new health screening tool to find out the risk of living wherever you live in California. And you will find it here.

I wrote about this in March for a story about West Fresno, which is ranked the most dangerous place anywhere in the state. The Bee links to the tool have been updated.

I noted at least one change. There are bound to be others.

The change I saw was in the 93656 zip code for Lanare and Riverdale in southwest Fresno County. In the previous version of the tool, the zip was ranked among the top 10% of the riskiest places to live. The new tool shows it is in the top 20%.

I noticed the score for the category on low birth weights had been lowered, meaning there was not as much risk as previously thought.

It may seem like a small change, but these rankings will be used to prioritize the spending of some money raised at cap-and-trade auctions.