David McNeir is a bishop of his church and a man of faith. But he has found himself banging his hand on a table more than once when negotiating with public health authorities for clean drinking water.
"We've always had bad water," said McNeir, a cannery employee who lives in Monterey Park Tract, an area southwest of Modesto flanked by dairies and farms. "We've been on a list for a project now for four or five years. We've applied for every kind of grant there is."
Up and down the Central Valley, the frustration is palpable.
After years of effort by community activists, politicians and even young teens, the state's progress toward clean water for all is dwarfed by discoveries of more problems. Residents continue to rely on groundwater tainted by pesticides, nitrates, industrial chemicals and arsenic.
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