CHEMICAL IN THE WATER: Wasco State Prison misses multiple deadlines to clean water supply

California State Water Resources Control Board issues compliance deadline in May 2018. Six years later, the contaminant is still present.

  • Video shows Wasco State Prison and water treatment vessels, which would clean out the contaminant.
  • Since May 2018, water in the Wasco State Prison has tested positive for 1, 2, 3- Trichloropropane, a carcinogen, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Two water wells supply more than 5000 people at the Wasco State Prison with drinking water, but since May 2018, testing revealed that water has been contaminated with 1, 2, 3 Trichloropropane.

Water at the prison has been contaminated for almost 6 years, according to the State Water Resources Control Board by 1, 2, 3 TCP.

After discovering the contaminant in the water, the prison issued this drinking water notice to staff and inmates.

Wasco State Prison Drinking Water Notice

“1,2,3 TCP is a byproduct from manufacturing a pesticide,” Eric Miguelino, a research scientist for the State Water Resources Control Board, said.

Miguelino specializes in health risks communications and regulation development and says the contaminant went undetected for 40 years until the pesticide was reformulated in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

“California is an [agriculture] state,” he said. “It’s a big [agriculture] state, so this was used very heavily.”

That’s why Miguelino says it’s regulated in California under Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, a government organization that conducts scientific evaluation of risks posed by hazardous substances, set the maximum contaminant level to 0.005 micrograms per liter in 1999 based on cancer risks devised from animal studies.

OEHHA 123-TCP Report

Officials last tested Well One at the beginning of October 2023 and reported 0.006 micrograms per liter with it’s highest reading reported at 0.015 micrograms per liter in July 2022.


Well Two test results show 0.012 micrograms per liter at the beginning of July 2023, but this well peaked in […]

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