Dr. Ruiz Stands Up for Residents of Oasis Mobile Home Park
Thermal, CA – Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. is requesting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide the community of the Oasis Mobile Home Park in Thermal with an update and further information regarding their Emergency Order issued in August after high levels of arsenic were found in the residents’ drinking water. In a letter to EPA Regional Administrator Mike Stoker, Dr. Ruiz asked that the EPA host a community meeting so area residents can tell their experiences and ask questions regarding the safety of their drinking water.
“Since the issuance of that order, my office has consistently heard from constituents who are frustrated and confused regarding the mobile home park’s compliance with the terms of the EPA’s order,” Dr. Ruiz said in the letter. “By appearing at a community meeting, the EPA will be able to directly disseminate critical information to residents about the safety of their water as well as hear first-hand many of the reports my office has received regarding the non-compliance of the park ownership.”
Dr. Ruiz also has called on Oasis Mobile Home Park management to immediately provide undeterred access to clean replacement drinking water for the duration of the period mandated by the EPA and eliminate any barriers such as restricted hours of availability.
This week at a congressional hearing, Dr. Ruiz gave opening remarks in which he recounted recent public health concerns stemming from local environmental hazards such as the high levels of arsenic in residents’ drinking water at Oasis Mobile Home Park. Dr. Ruiz highlighted his bill, the Environmental Justice Act of 2019, saying, “We must ensure that every person in America has access to clean water to drink and clean air to breathe – that is a common good and right for everyone.”
High levels of arsenic found in the Oasis Mobile Home Park drinking water system poses a significant health risk to the residents. On August 28, 2019, the EPA issued an emergency order to the Oasis Mobile Home Park owner to provide one gallon of water per resident per day at no cost to the residents.
Shortly after the high arsenic levels were discovered, residents were charged $100 more per month in rent – an unprecedented rent increase of almost 30%. Eviction warnings have already been sent to residents if they are unable to pay the amount