The small city of Orange Cove is dealing with a big water crisis. Residents have been told not to drink, or cook with tap water because of high levels of nitrates.
A stream of people lined up in Orange Cove Friday, all ready to stock up on one thing; fresh water.
Oscar Alvarado says, "The water smelled funky for awhile but we never got anything about it until last night."
Thursday, tests revealed the city's water supply was contaminated with high levels of nitrates. The levels were almost double the safe standard.
"I'm recommending that nobody drink the water from the faucets," says Orange Cove Vice Mayor Victor Lopez.
Officials say the water is unsafe for everyone, but it's even more dangerous for babies and pregnant women.
Sylvester Perez, Orange Cove Water Department says, "It causes the blue baby syndrome."
"What I'm saying as the vice mayor is to listen to us, work with us. We're going to take care of the people of Orange Cove," says Lopez.
Clean water by the truckloads rolled into the city, and people filled up by the gallons. Workers also handed out cases of bottled water.
Alvarado says, "Every time we have problems, the city always finds a way to help us out."
Over at the Citrus Mini Mart, soda machines are out of service, and cooks rely on jugs of water to fill lunchtime orders. It's a bit of a burden, but it's not hurting business.
Crews are working around the clock to fix the problem. Officials say the water will be sampled morning, noon and night until it comes out clean.
"We have a reverse osmosis unit that's online and that's designed to remove all the nitrates," says Perez.
It could be another week until people have fresh, running water, but hopes are high that a solution comes sooner than that.
"The holidays are coming through, like Christmas. You got your hot chocolate and all that stuff, and it's just going to suck," says Alvarado.
This problem apparently stemmed from some wells the city had temporarily been using. The city manager tells us nitrate levels haven't been an issue for at least ten years.
Officials also say boiling water in this case is not a good thing. Excessive boiling can make nitrates more concentrated.