Fresno, CA’s Water Problem

“If I ran a bath in the bathtub,” reports Karen Micheli, “It would just be orange.”

Karen Micheli lives with her husband Michael on Heather Drive in Fresno California. The Micheli couple thought the strange color was connected to a home water glitch, never dreaming that it might involve a city water supply switch from pumped groundwater to surface water.



The Michelis became suspicious when a neighbor posted a question for an online community bulletin board about discolored water. Did anyone else have the problem?

Complaints soon reached bulletin overload, 12 years after the surface-water plant began to function.


Lead content

Water testing was the first step. Discolored water from 260 residents revealed unsafe positive levels for lead in 40 homes. Federal standards require less than 15 parts per billion lead levels to be safe.


The homes with unsafe water could be a lot higher, but Thomas Esqueda, director of the town’s Public Utilities Department says “this is who’s calling us,” referring to the reports on hand.


Effects on water pipes

Pipes react to new water supplies, such as the surface water pumping, in various ways. Water chemistry can weaken or dissolve previously hardened scale of mineral or lead into the drinking water.


A Report from the city’s water division by HDR Engineering Inc. states that “Metal release on copper and lead bearing surfaces will likely be higher when exposed to the more poorly mineralized blends of Enterprise Canal and groundwater.”


Fresno’s search for solutions to the water problem has been fraught with complications. The city has tweaked water chemistry formulas at the surface water plant, blended water before it enters the mains, and changed the composition of corrosion-control additives. Each time one step is completed, the city performs water tests in homes.


Home plumbing

The situation is complicated by the kind of pipe used in the original plumbing of many homes in Fresno. For example, galvanized pipe has often been replaced by cheaper PVC or plastic pipe.

The plastic pipe does not corrode or rust, but Esqueda commented, “It’s not very good pipe.”

He states that the pipe lining is deficient, so there is no protection against soil corrosion or deterioration from water flow.

He noted that galvanized pipe has been used in most homes built prior to 1998. Building codes then did not specify any standard for the bonded zinc within the pipes.



Kassy Chauhan, senior engineer for the drinking water division reports that there is still no clear-cut solution to the water fiasco.

“It is a multifaceted problem that has multiple causes and solutions. We are continuing to investigate.”



The Michelis, alarmed and tired of the long investigation, tore up walls and floors in their home and replaced galvanized piping with PVC. The cost was nearly $6000, not counting the construction remodeling that had to occur with the plumbing. They feel that if lead had leached into their former galvanized piping, replacement of pipes was the only safe solution.


Karen Micheli expressed concern for young people who can not afford such renovations. Many of these people depend upon a short-term car title loan to cover expenses, or simply do without needed items.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do,” she says. “There are a lot of young families out there with young children who can’t afford it.”


3 Men Accused Of Stealing Candy In Fresno Area

Fresno authorities have found all the candy and the suspects who stole it from a clubhouse at a little league field. The men who were accused of taking the candy had a trail that led back to the clubhouse that they stole the candy from. The candy that was stolen was something that the little league needed to sell for proceeds and to help the kids have a snack after games. It is rare that kids are going to be stolen from like this, but the little league had it happen.


The thieves got away with a lot of candy, but they did not steal anything else. It was very good luck that there was no one there when the robbery happened, but the men were still caught based on basic evidence that was found at the scene. Anyone who had information was willing to call in, and they used all that information to find the people who actually did the theft. This is something that troubled the people in Fresno because they did not believe that they would have anything like this happen.


The Fresno area was shaken by the theft because it was so close to the kids in the area, and it is something that the little league was not aware of when they were coming in for practice. It became something that the people in the area were not able to cope with, and it was something that had to be solved quickly so that people would not think that the little league clubhouses were fair game.


The little league has been able to keep playing because they had the case solved, and the little league is happy to have some of the candy back. This might look like a small thing, but it is something that people were hoping would be fixed so that games could go on in the area. The little league families were happy to know that their fields are safe again, and the little league teams were able to keep selling candy at games.


The thieves have been taken into custody, and they are going to be arraigned on robbery charges. These thieves have been shown that even a small piece of evidence can take the police to their doorsteps. Everyone hoped that the theft could be solved, and now they have been caught. The people of Fresno are hoping that this is an example so that other people do not think that they can perpetrate these thefts in the future.


The theft in a little league clubhouse could have been the beginning of something a lot bigger, but it was not because of the swift work of the police. It seems like such a senseless crime to steal candy from little kids, but it is clear that the thieves were not thinking when they made their way over to the fields to steal candy they could have bought at the store. The games will still go on the Fresno little league.