Just days before Christmas, Orange Cove families poured into an empty parking lot Friday...to pour clean water into bottles, buckets, and containers.
“We all need water for daily basis and with the water they're giving out today it's such a big help for us,” said Georgina Uribe.
The city is supplying the water from Reedley and Dinuba after a warning went out to 10,000 Orange Cove residents to avoid drinking tap water...especially seniors, pregnant women, and infants.
“We want nobody to use this water to cook or to drink it. Period. It's high in nitrates. It's dangerous,” said Mayor Pro Tem Victor Lopez.
Tests show the water system is contaminated with harmful levels of nitrates.
Nitrates are found in farm fertilizer.
Doctors say it can interfere with the body's ability to carry oxygen.
“A big reason why nitrate level went out from plant more than what we suspected was do to a malfunction,” said Gabriel Jimenez.
It could take a few weeks to treat the system.
The city says it'll provide free water and waive water fees until the problem is resolved.
The community hopes future legislation could help prevent the problem from happening again.
“I'll be partnering with several legislators throughout valley and state to introduce a package of bills next year that will help communities get the resources they need to clean up their water,” said Assemblyman Henry Perea.