Coachella Valley farmworkers struggle to get clean water

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017
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Every few days Melissa Ramirez carries empty bottles from her home to get clean drinking water for her family.

MECCA, Calif. (KABC) -- Every few days Melissa Ramirez carries empty bottles out from her home, visiting a filling station a few hundred feet away so her family can have clean drinking water.

All the water that comes out of the tap at the St. Anthony's mobile home park in Mecca is too dangerous to drink.

It's contaminated with arsenic and other materials that are classified as carcinogens.

The nonprofit group Pueblo Unido recently installed a water filtration system for the 86 families that live in the mobile home park.

But thousands of other farmworkers in the eastern end of the Coachella Valley have even more difficulty getting access to clean water.

"It makes me feel worried, because you're dealing with people's health," Ramirez said.

Ramirez has lived in the mobile home park for 20 years. Her father digs holes for palm trees. Her mother cleans raisins.

Thanks to the nonprofit at least they don't have to worry about the quality of the water.

"Our family feels a lot safer than drinking water with arsenic, so that definitely takes weight off our shoulders, knowing that the water is safer than the water that's provided," Ramirez said.