Free bottled water for Arvin residents

ARVIN, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) There's no debate of how vital water is. So what do you do when the drinking supply faces possible contamination?

That's a question thousands of Arvin residents have been faced with, and hundreds tried to answer at Saturday's free bottled water distribution.

Within the first two hours, the supply trickled dry. Lee Wharton was the last Arvin resident to get free bottles.

"(We're) fortunate, yeah. But, someone else is less fortunate, because they didn't get one," said Wharton.

The entire city was on alert after high winds uprooted a large eucalyptus tree on Bear Mountain Boulevard on Thursday night. The tree ruptured a 6-inch pipeline. That brought on a potential for contaminated water.

"As far as trying to get the system back and up and running, we're doing the best we can," said Jude Urueta, of Arvin Community Water District. "We're just waiting for the results, for those samples to come back."

Until results clear the water, all restaurants in Arvin have been closed by the county department of environmental health.

"(The restaurant owners) do have a great concern in regard to their businesses being turned down because they have bills to pay, and they count on the weekends to be able to make more money," said Arvin Mayor Jose Flores.

Residents are advised to boil water for at least one minute and let it cool before drinking it, but officials say the water is fine for bathing and laundry.

But, the contamination alert still has many on edge, who plan to stick to bottles until the problem is resolved.

"If the water is contaminated, even if you take a shower you're at risk because you never know if the water is gonna go through your eyes, through your ears, through your mouth. It's very easy to get any infection," said Isabel Mejia.

If you're an Arvin resident, the city's Community Services District located at 309 Campus Drive will have free bottled water again Sunday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. They expect to have at least twice as much clean water as they did Saturday.

All Arvin schools will be open on Monday.