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The poor quality of the water in some towns in San Joaquin Valley, Calif., is unacceptable and local communities should not be left waiting for improvements that should have been made years ago, especially considering the fact that funding for the upgrades was available long ago, according to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Talking to the Fresno Bee editorial board, McCarthy said that the federal agency was pleased with the EPA's regional office's attempts to improve the quality of the water delivered to rural communities in the area. McCarthy visited Fresno as part of her tour in California to assess the progress made in water and air quality issues.
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Earlier this year the EPA's regional office criticized the California Department of Public Health for failing to invest in improving water infrastructure when it had $455 million intended to fix such problems at its disposal. In the meantime, residents of some towns in San Joaquin Valley had been forced to buy bottled water, McCarthy told the newspaper. This criticism apparently yielded results because the regional department said that it would make available $84 million of the federal money for infrastructure upgrades, the Fresno Bee reported.
More federal money will be allocated to the fund over the next few years and the EPA will monitor closely how the money is spent, commented regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld, who was also present at the editorial board meeting.