Tuesday , February 27 2024

Unsafe Drinking Water Is Bad Enough: But What If You’re The One Tasked With Fixing It?

When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink. Bringing that arsenic content back down to a safe level required a lot of work, as he explains to a few colleagues at a water leadership institute in Visalia. “It took us about 8 years and $ 9.2 million to comply with their new standards,” he says. “And we just got that plant online in September of 2017.” “Eight and a half years,” says Raul Barraza, Jr., who can’t help but connect the stress of running a water system with the thinning grey hair on Maciel’s head. “Jim’s hair was black back then,” he jokes. The two of them are attending the 2019 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute , a free 6-month program offered by the Visalia-based non-profit organization Self-Help Enterprises. During one Saturday a month, it offers workshops and field trips to help local water leaders navigate
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