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Murky water frightens Compton, Willowbrook residents — again

The Compton Water Utility Division and Sativa Water District both get a “Fail” on our report card


Compton Water Utility Division and the Sativa Water District fail residents as California Water Boards inspectors going door-to-door following reports about murky water

Discolored tap water pouring from faucets in Compton and Willowbrook have gotten residents all riled up. A local TV news station filmed the tap water in at least one home. It was muddy-colored.

The water in this unincorporated part of the county has a history of foul quality. The water in this service area serves just 1,600 customers and comes from the Sativa-Los Angeles County Water District supplies domestic water services to a sliver of Compton bordering on the Willowbrook area, an unincorporated area of the County. The service area is about half a square mile.

There have been efforts to fix the problem before.

In 2016, then U.S. Congressional Rep. Janice Hahn fired off a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in June 2016, requesting that the EPA work with the California State Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water to test the safety of water in the Compton area after complaints by residents of murky and mud-colored tap water.

Hahn, now a Los Angeles County supervisor, said at the time, “Compton city officials [at the Water Utility Division]” told her office “they believe the problem is due to sediment build up in the city’s aging cast iron pipes” and insist the water is safe to drink.

It appears the murky and discolored tap water is back — maybe it never left, and the Environmental Protection Agency should coordinate with the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water to test the water in areas of Compton and Willowbrook. Murky, discolored water should not be deemed safe to drink for any reason. That may occur in rural Third World nations with rudimentary water purification systems, but Compton is not a Third World nation.

As we reported in 2016, as one of three divisions falling under The Public Works Municipal Utilities Department (the others are Street Maintenance Division and Public Works Engineering Division), the Water Division is responsible for implementing the City of Compton’s utility services programs. They may be shirking their duties. To achieve the objectives of these programs, the Division constructs, inspects, maintains and repairs water mains, gate valves, fire hydrants and domestic water services to provide adequate potable water to the citizens of Compton.

A statement on the city’s Water Utility Division website regarding water quality reads:

“The City of Compton vigilantly safeguards its water supply and, as in years past, the water delivered to your home meets the standards required by the state and federal regulatory agencies. In accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the city monitors over 100 compounds in your water supply. In some cases, the city goes beyond what is required to monitor for additional contaminants that have known health risks.”

Perhaps they do not. If polluted water recently filmed by the local TV news station flowing from Compton and Willowbrook faucets is an indication, the Compton Water Utility Division and the Sativa Water District jointly get a “Fail” on our report card, because no citizen of Compton or Willowbrook in their right mind would ever drink or cook, with tap water the color of mud.

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles County, California, and the world.


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