Thursday, April 4, 2024

Water Insecurity: Drinking water previously contained unsafe levels of arsenic. EPA Actions Restore Safe Drinking Water to over 900 Mobile Home Park Residents in Eastern Coachella Valley


EPA Actions Restore Safe Drinking Water to over 900 Mobile Home Park Residents in Eastern Coachella Valley

Drinking water previously contained unsafe levels of arsenic.

Media Contact: Michael Brogan, 415-295-9314,

SAN FRANCISCO (April 4, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has 
overseen the restoration of safe drinking water to over 900 residents living in 20 mobile home 
parks located within the boundaries of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Reservation 
in the Eastern Coachella Valley, located in Southern California.

“EPA is committed to protecting the health of our communities, including those that have 
historically faced unequal environmental burdens, by ensuring their drinking water is safe 
and reliable,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman
“We will continue to fully utilize our authority to make sure that safe drinking water 
standards are met.”

EPA Actions

In 2020, EPA began investigating numerous mobile home parks located within the 
Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Reservation for compliance with the arsenic 
limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This work is part of EPA’s overall increased 
focus on the area, including enforcement efforts related to drinking water at 
To date, EPA has identified another 20 mobile home parks within the Reservation, housing 
approximately 920 people, with drinking water that comes from groundwater and therefore 
may contain arsenic levels above the federal limit. Of the 20 mobile home parks, only 
13 parks’ drinking water systems were previously regulated by the County of Riverside. 
 Seven of the 20 mobile home parks’ drinking water systems, serving 287 people, had 
never been subject to regulatory oversight, had no regulated arsenic treatment systems 
in place, and had no information about the current condition of the drinking water being 

As a result of the information gathered, EPA rapidly developed a comprehensive approach 
to address the needs of the communities living in these 20 mobile home parks, including 
EPA funded sampling efforts, enforcement actions, compliance assistance, and a partnership 
with a local non-profit organization, Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation 
 (PUCDC). From December 2021 through September 2022, EPA issued Safe Drinking Water 
Act Emergency Administrative Orders to nine mobile home parks where the arsenic levels 
in the drinking water exceeded the federal limit of 10 parts per billion. 

Each Emergency Administrative Order required the provision of safe alternative water, 
installation of regulated arsenic treatment systems, and compliance with all other Safe Drinking 
Water Act standards and regulations. While pursuing these enforcement actions, EPA, in 
coordination with PUCDC, provided compliance assistance to the other mobile home parks 
to ensure their drinking water would comply with federal law, including the arsenic limits 
and all necessary monitoring and reporting requirements.

As a result of these combined efforts, EPA has overseen the installation of point-of-use \arsenic 
treatment devices in over 220 homes. EPA recently released six mobile home parks from their 
Emergency Administrative Orders – Arellano, Castro Ranch, Desert Rose, Gamez, Gonzalez, 
and Sandoval – because of their return to compliance with the arsenic limit and other Order 
 requirements as listed above. EPA continues to monitor the progress of the mobile home parks 
still under Emergency Administrative Orders and to provide compliance assistance to all 
20 mobile home parks.

Background on Eastern Coachella Valley

The Eastern Coachella Valley region, including towns such as Mecca, North Shore, Oasis, 
and Thermal, is home to a predominantly Latino and Indigenous population facing significant 
socioeconomic challenges. The region experiences some of the highest rates of poverty and 
unemployment in the nation, and those who are employed often work outdoors in the 
agricultural sector and are therefore exposed to climate-related threats such as extreme 

Environmental conditions exacerbate many of the socioeconomic issues in the 
Eastern Coachella Valley. In addition to air and water quality issues, many areas have 
naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater. Exposure to arsenic may result in both acute and 
chronic health effects. Arsenic is a known carcinogen and drinking high levels of water 
containing arsenic over many years can increase the chance of lung, bladder, and skin 
cancers, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and neurological damage.

Learn how EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, together with states, tribes, 
 and many other partners, protects public health by ensuring safe drinking water and 
protecting ground water.

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region

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