Skip to main content.

Regional Water Board Issues Rare Citation for Contaminated Drinking Water

Regional Water Board Issues Rare Citation for Contaminated Drinking Water

Picture of Sara  Rubin

It's a rare instance when groundwater contamination can be linked to a specific polluter and specific practices, but the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has ordered a Monterey County landowner and grower to provide a drinkable water supply. 

The rural community of San Lucas has been living on bottled water for at least two years, and the landowner and grower have already voluntarily agreed to provide water. But this still represents a big step in IDing an agricultural polluter. 

"This is one of the rare cases in the state where the Regional [Water Quality Control] Board has found the responsible party," says Bob Fredenburg, chief consultant to the California Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxics Committee. "This is an interesting case. It goes to, 'Well, what if we do hold people responsible?"

The Water Board reported that the execssive nitrate levels are the result of fertilizer use on Las Colinas Ranch.  Read my original post about this news here.

This is the subject on my continuing reporting for my fellowship project

Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr.


Picture of Leah Beth Ward

Interesting. The EPA here in the Yakima Valley identified recently four dairies as the most "likely" source of contamination of wells used for drinking water. The dairies entered into legally binding agreements to reduce the nitrate pollution, which contaminates the groundwater used by a largely poor, Latino population. All this started with Hidden Wells, Dirty Water, my 2008 series launched by the fellowship program. I look to hearing more about this development.

Leave A Comment


The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.

Let us support your next ambitious health reporting project through our National Fellowship program. Apply today.

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series "Dying for Care," who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Sign-up here!


Follow Us



CHJ Icon