Through community-driven decision-making and education, Arvin Union School District, CWC, AdEdge Technologies, and Committee for a Better Arvin teamed up to install Point-of-Use filters in 4 school.to treat arsenic contamination in Arvin, CA.

Narrative

Problem
Arvin is a severely disadvantaged communities in South Kern County (about 20 miles south of Bakersfield) that are comprised of primarily low-income Latino farmworkers. Arvin’s water system struggles with water quality issues: specifically high arsenic levels. Arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soil and also can come from industrial and agricultural activities, such as mining or arsenic-based pesticides. High levels of arsenic over time can cause health impacts like skin, lung, or kidney cancer; reduced mental functioning in children; and Type 2 diabetes. While Arvin’s water system has been working on a long-term solution to address these water challenges, the schools, as well as the rest of the community, will have to continue to wait a few years for safe drinking water. According to Dr. Michelle Mclean, Superintendent of Arvin Union School District, “There have been requests made over time for us to filter the water here at the schools, but it’s really cost prohibitive, and the costs we receive from the State Department of Education and taxpayers are really meant to go toward the education,” McLean said. Students are being exposed to arsenic and potentially are not being well hydrated.

Solution
Community Water Center (CWC), Committee for a Better Arvin (CBA), the Arvin Union School District, and AdEdge Technologies teamed up together to create a new model of how schools can provide safe water. CBA is a local grassroots environmental justice organization comprised of community leaders dedicated to improving the quality of life. The Arvin Union School District includes four elementary schools and one middle school in Arvin. AdEdge is a manufacturer that works with Multipure Corporation to make Point-of-Use (POU) water filter systems that are certified by NSF and the California Department of Public Health to reduce arsenic effectively. The project team first assessed the needs of the daycare centers, explored cost-effective options for interim solutions that met the schools’ needs, and decided to implement Point-of-Use (POU) water filters at all drinking water fountains and kitchen sinks used for cooking. These filters are expected to be in place for three years while the local water district is developing long-term solutions to address the high arsenic levels in the water with state funding. The filters will be installed by the end of February 2014, after a year of building relationships and scoping the needs of the schools.

Partners
This project was a collaborative process that involved the support of many different partners. CWC, Arvin Union School District leadership, and AdEdge technologies worked together to develop a plan for implementation. The filter equipment, replacement filters, installation, and water quality monitoring will be donated in-kind with the support of partners AdEdge Water Technologies, Multipure Corporation, Helping Hands For Water, Western Water, and California Rural Water Association at no cost to the schools.

  • Impact Assessment (M&E) Phase Project completed on 1 Jul, 2014 Implementation Phase
    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 12 Months after start 16 Dec, 2013

    documents finalized

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    AdEdge and CWC have finalized the documents (contract, memo, MOU) needed for the project. School Board will vote on the approval Jan 10, 2014.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 11 Months after start 9 Dec, 2013

    school board mtg ausd

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Cwc presented at school board mtg about filter project. School board voted unanimously to approve.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 11 Months after start 22 Nov, 2013

    update at cba mtg

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Cwc presented project update, o&m plan, potential future work to committee for a better Arvin. Discussed education and filter inauguration.

    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 10 Months after start 6 Nov, 2013

    press release

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    CWC released press release about project in Headstarts/Arvin schools.

    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 10 Months after start 18 Oct, 2013

    presentation to Committee for a Better Arvin

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    CWC presented project update to Committee for a Better Arvin, grassroots organization of Arvin community leaders, and help solidify relationship to further engage as project continues.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 9 Months after start 25 Sep, 2013

    call with CDPH and Adedge

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Conf call with CDPH, CWC, Adedge technologies. Confirmed POU devices are certified by NSF and CDPH. Adedge has also shared that they helped secure Western Water to install in kind and California Rural Water Association to help donate water testing.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 9 Months after start 24 Sep, 2013

    evaluation plan finalized

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen and Carolina finalized all evaluation plans and tools for the interim solutions project.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 9 Months after start 13 Sep, 2013

    haven dr visit

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen visited haven Dr to observe students at lunch time and create an inventory.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 9 Months after start 12 Sep, 2013

    bear mtn visit

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen visited bear Mtn school to do inventory and observe kids drinking water at lunch. Site lead is Nef.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 9 Months after start 11 Sep, 2013

    el camino real visit

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen visited el Camino real elementary to do inventory of drinking water fountains and observe drinking water patterns in students. Site lead is Rick.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 8 Months after start 10 Sep, 2013

    sierra vista site visit

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen visited Sierra Vista elementary to create inventory of drinking water faucets. Special note: cafeteria doesn't have a drinking water fountain. School provided dispenser to kids with water filled from tap. Site lead is Rey.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 8 Months after start 10 Sep, 2013

    Arvin evaluation/inventory site visits

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen conducted site visits at all 4 schools the week of 9/10/13. Shen gathered data and talked to the site facilities lead to be able to conduct an inventory of all drinking water fountains and cafeteria sinks that potentially need POU filters. Shen also conducted observations of students' drinking water behavior during lunchtime and recess for baseline evaluation.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 8 Months after start 29 Aug, 2013

    adedge site visit

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen coordinated site visits with Adedge technologies for sierra vista and haven Dr. Manufacturer has said that POU filters project is feasible and they can support.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 7 Months after start 29 Jul, 2013

    arvin district leadership meeting

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen and Abi presented options available for short term solutions to Arvin superintendent, chief business official, and all four site leads. Leadership Decided that drinking water fountains at all drinking water fountains and cooking areas should be filtered through POU. Next steps: createn inventory.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 5 Months after start 28 May, 2013

    evaluation of schools visit

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen visited one of the schools Dr. Anisha Patel is evaluating drinking water consumption to learn about evaluation process to help inform CWC evaluation in schools for drinking water.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 5 Months after start 23 May, 2013

    arvin school and kinetico call

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Cwc convened call with Arvin superintendent, site leads, Arvin community services district manager, and Kinetico to talk about schools drinking water needs and available interim solutions options.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 3 Months after start 9 Apr, 2013

    arvin csd presentation

    Status: Complete - Successful

    Operating Status:

    Shen presented to Arvin CSD about available Cdph emergency funding for Arvin to get short term solution. Board is in support of submitting application to benefit school. Csd is a partner.

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    Shen Huang ( Community Water Center ) 3 Months after start 20 Mar, 2013

    Operating Status:

    To help Abi with the relations building, Shen needs to prepare menu of options for school, get technical info like water usage to Kinetico, and follow up on several quote options from Kinetico and Culligan.

  • Implementation Phase Project started on 30 Dec, 2012 Preparation Phase

Through community-driven decision-making and education, Arvin Union School District, CWC, AdEdge Technologies, and Committee for a Better Arvin teamed up to install Point-of-Use filters in 4 school.to treat arsenic contamination in Arvin, CA.

Narrative

Problem
Arvin is a severely disadvantaged communities in South Kern County (about 20 miles south of Bakersfield) that are comprised of primarily low-income Latino farmworkers. Arvin’s water system struggles with water quality issues: specifically high arsenic levels. Arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soil and also can come from industrial and agricultural activities, such as mining or arsenic-based pesticides. High levels of arsenic over time can cause health impacts like skin, lung, or kidney cancer; reduced mental functioning in children; and Type 2 diabetes. While Arvin’s water system has been working on a long-term solution to address these water challenges, the schools, as well as the rest of the community, will have to continue to wait a few years for safe drinking water. According to Dr. Michelle Mclean, Superintendent of Arvin Union School District, “There have been requests made over time for us to filter the water here at the schools, but it’s really cost prohibitive, and the costs we receive from the State Department of Education and taxpayers are really meant to go toward the education,” McLean said. Students are being exposed to arsenic and potentially are not being well hydrated.

Solution
Community Water Center (CWC), Committee for a Better Arvin (CBA), the Arvin Union School District, and AdEdge Technologies teamed up together to create a new model of how schools can provide safe water. CBA is a local grassroots environmental justice organization comprised of community leaders dedicated to improving the quality of life. The Arvin Union School District includes four elementary schools and one middle school in Arvin. AdEdge is a manufacturer that works with Multipure Corporation to make Point-of-Use (POU) water filter systems that are certified by NSF and the California Department of Public Health to reduce arsenic effectively. The project team first assessed the needs of the daycare centers, explored cost-effective options for interim solutions that met the schools’ needs, and decided to implement Point-of-Use (POU) water filters at all drinking water fountains and kitchen sinks used for cooking. These filters are expected to be in place for three years while the local water district is developing long-term solutions to address the high arsenic levels in the water with state funding. The filters will be installed by the end of February 2014, after a year of building relationships and scoping the needs of the schools.

Partners
This project was a collaborative process that involved the support of many different partners. CWC, Arvin Union School District leadership, and AdEdge technologies worked together to develop a plan for implementation. The filter equipment, replacement filters, installation, and water quality monitoring will be donated in-kind with the support of partners AdEdge Water Technologies, Multipure Corporation, Helping Hands For Water, Western Water, and California Rural Water Association at no cost to the schools.

Sustainability

Creating and measuring long-term impact

Capacity building is key to the sustainability of this filter project. CWC will train each school’s main facility staff in charge of maintaining the filters on proper O&M and arsenic water quality testing sampling. During the six months of operations, CWC will conduct a monthly survey to check-in with the facilities staff to learn about on-site O&M conducted and help troubleshoot as necessary. Additionally, in early 2014 CWC is planning to educate the community residents and parents about the health impacts of arsenic contamination so that they can 1) understand what arsenic contamination is and how to prevent exposure, 2) learn about this filter project to have interim safe water in the schools and know that their children have access to safe water, and 3) get connected to participate in advocacy and decision-making processes throughout the development of long-term solutions.

This project implemented the POU filter system Multipure Plus system. It is a priority of the project to be sustainable and affordable to the Arvin schools, so the costs of operations and maintenance (O&M), including replacement parts and regular water quality testing for three years, is planned to be provided through in-kind donations from partners as detailed above and fundraising.

Ultimately, all partners want the filters to be an interim solution, so not only is it important that families know how to prevent exposure from arsenic contamination and have access to interim sources of safe water, it is also important that the community of Arvin keep advocating to achieve a sustainable, long-term drinking water solution.

Learnings

Knowledge of project and process for sharing

Focusing on solutions can create strategic alliances that bring about a shift in policy.
At the beginning, the Arvin Union School District was hesitant to participate in an interim solutions project. Superintendent Michelle McLean was interested in this opportunity to partner to provide interim source of safe water to the students because she knew that the drinking water in South Kern County had high levels of arsenic contamination, yet also felt that it was the responsibility of the water district to provide safe water. With this mindset, the school was reluctant to put resources into water safety. This was a new relationship, so CWC helped educate her on the health effects of arsenic and was dedicated to making sure all concerns raised were addressed, such as liability, effectiveness of filters, costs, and maintenance, were addressed and also worked closely with Dr. McLean to get her recommendations on how to develop this project. In addition, parents and families of the students were going to school board meetings to raise support for this project, so Dr. McLean started understanding how important this was. After receiving information from CWC on the successful implementation of interim solutions projects elsewhere, the District decided champion the concept and serve as a model for other schools in the movement to provide safe water to their students.

Impact

People Impacted: 3385

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 265

265 total staff from the four schools (Arvin Community Services District, 2013).

School Children Getting Water: 3120

3120 total students from the four schools (Arvin Community Services District, 2013).

Funding

Final Cost:
$27,000

Plan/Proposal