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What You Should Hate / October 2, 2009
By Yasha Levine


Fuck, why did I listen to the asshole who told me that ground water up here in the desert was some of the cleanest in the nation? I’ve been drinking it straight out the tap for six months now, and just yesterday I found out that I’ve been gulping a whole lot of arsenic down with it.

The EPA recommends that there be no more than 0.02 ppb (parts per billion) in drinking water, and California’s set the limit to 0.01 ppb or less. In Victorville, most recent tests show a concentration of 11 ppb. That’s a 1,100 times over the limit! Let me repeat that: the concentration of arsenic in Victorville’s water is ONE THOUSAND TIMES  over the threshold of safety.

The federal and state “Maximum Contaminant Limit” for arsenic is set to 10 ppb, a number that’s determined as much by removal cost as it is by adverse health effects—and one some environmental organizations deem way too high for safety. But the locals can’t even keep even keep it at that. They’ve been over the limit going back at least a decade, sometimes by a factor of two. But you wouldn’t know any of this from the latest Victor Valley Water District “water confidence” report, which states: “Below is a list of substances detected in your drinking water in 2007. As the chart shows, very few substances could even be detected, and all are within strict water quality standards established to protect water customers.”

What does long-term exposure to arsenic get you? Here’s what the World Health Organization has to say: cancer of the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney, skin lesions and blood vessel damage which leads to gangrene (something the Chinese call “black foot disease”), just to name a few. The WHO adds that skin lesions have been observed at arsenic concentrations of less than 0.05 ppb.

Here are a few visuals:


A lot of the arsenic contamination has to do with recharging the local aquifer with water shipped in through the California Aqueduct, which picks up all sorts of agricultural pollutants in water runoff as it makes its way from the Sacramento Delta through Central Valley’s farmland and into the desert.

This is nothing new. Arsenic levels have been spiking here for years, but there have been no fines, and it  looks like local politicians don’t really give a shit about fixing the problem. The main thing is to deliver as much water as possible in order to meet the minimum water requirements for development schemes they got in the works. The people? Well, they’re really no different from water, they’re just an exploitable and renewable resource. The most important thing is to get as many of them here buying houses. What happens after they sign on the dotted line is of no concern to the thieving goons that run this place.

Welcome to Third World America.

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Add your own

  • 1. az  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I think you forgot to add “Yasha for mayor!”

  • 2. Necronomic Justice  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Holy shit.

  • 3. Necronomic Justice  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Yasha, were you in Russia when the DailyPress ran this one:

  • 4. what's my name? fuck you, thats my name  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    ‘Cause only one thing counts in this world: get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me you fuckin’ faggots?

  • 5. Mark  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    David Mamet should write a Glengarry Glen Ross sequel in Victorville…

  • 6. jimmy james  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    If Mamet didn’t turn into a right wing retard he could have a field day with the shit going on today…

  • 7. Expat in BY  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Arsenic is typically a product of mining. Areas of Fairbanks, Alaska, have the same problem because of gold mining operations. It typically takes years of exposure to start developing problems, but heightened levels like what you’ve quoted, well, they still may not be too much a reason for concern as you are still new to the area.

    Just drink more beer – and avoid whatever they are bottling at that new plant that Dr. Pepper is wanting to build.

  • 8. Spike  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Recharging aquifers with surface water is a common cause of arsenic spikes. Arsenic is actually a very common element, and its already down there in the ground, but it is mostly inert and doesn’t get dissolved by the old, fossilized water down there. But when water from the surface gets pumped underground, the high oxygen levels from the surface water cause the arsenic to dissolve,fucking up your well.

  • 9. Sombra, The Black Widow  |  October 3rd, 2009 at 7:35 am

    I think the water tastes pretty good. Levine is a weak little mensch.

  • 10. Antonio Garcia  |  October 3rd, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I’d file a complaint against the water board for not disclosing life saving facts about there water quality. I would have rather of been told the truth like millions of people instead of drinking there water for 20 something years and then being told 20 years later O Ya DON’T DRINK THE WATER IT MAY CONTAIN AN ARSENIC, That’s why you hear about these cancer cases years later and these people wondering to there selves how in the heck did i develop tumors or cancer, i don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes and now I’m dieing

  • 11. Expat in BY  |  October 4th, 2009 at 12:32 am

    8 Spike.

    Good comment, but have to say this is a first time I’ve heard about surface water carrying arsenic into a recharged aquifer. If that is the case, I’d not want to be drinking water in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a few years. They are recharging the aquifer there to use as a sort of underground reservoir, mostly to avoid evaporation losses in an expected regional drought.

    Do you have a source for the recharged aquifer-arsenic problem? Wouldn’t mind reading up on that.

  • 12. Spike  |  October 4th, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I read about it in the book, Mirage, which is about Florida’s water problems, and how they are exacerbated by greedy bastards trying to make a buck (kinda like the Victorville situation)

    Here is the section on an “Aquifer Storage and Recovery” project that pumps clean water into the ground, but pumps arsenic-laden water out:

  • 13. Expat in BY  |  October 10th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    12. Spike

    Was saddened to see your source wasn’t completely available online (they often truncate books on Google), as it did look interesting, but I did find additional sources on the arsenic issues you brought up:

    At least in the Wisconsin case I’ve cited, it looks like the issue is local. Granted, when you pump water into an aquifer, it’s going to become acidic and dissolve minerals in the rock layers on the way down and back up no matter where you are, but if the arsenic-laden layer of soil or rock is absent (either between the aquifer and the surface, or on the edges of the aquifer itself), then you shouldn’t get arsenic in the ground water.

    But then I wanted to see if this sort of project was being tried in Victorville – apparently these ASR projects are quite popular these days in the West. Googling “Aquifer Storage and Recovery Victorville” turned up a paper from 2004 indicating that you might have had a direct hit on what the problem was with Victorville’s water.

    Good job.

  • 14. DOUG OSBORNE  |  December 21st, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Click on # 3 above my comment and see if you recognize anyone. I am the only one that has sued BOTH the State and County for Arsenic Poisoning. The put 10 lawyers on me and I had to ask that the case be dismissed and it was WITHOUT PREJUDICE. I could get no lawyer to take the case and I was in way over my head. I have been found to be arsenic poisoned to the top of the scale at Loma Linda Hospital both urine and blood tests. So What? No one gives a shit.

  • 15. Laura  |  March 7th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Did you try Erin Brokovich. She is the one who exposed the water problem just a bit north of this berg. You need someone of that caliber.

  • 16. Laura  |  March 7th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    P.S. Don’t drink the f – -k ing water. I talked to a young kid who was in remission from cancer from it.

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