Environmental Justice Analysis of Nitrate Contamination in San Joaquin Valley Drinking Water

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Community organizations, rural law groups, researchers, and residents have voiced concerns over drinking water in the San Joaquin Valley of California and the unequal burden of contamination borne by people of color and low-income populations. The abilities and needs of these groups should be considered in the efforts to realize the human right to water in California. This work reviews related literature and improves on previous studies of distributive justice of drinking water quality. The statistical analysis showed that an increase in the proportion of Latinos served by community water systems in the San Joaquin Valley was linked to an increase in nitrate concentrations in delivered drinking water. Median household income, in addition in to the proportion of Latinos served by community water systems, in Tulare County explain 15% of the variation in nitrate contamination.

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