Voice For Life: speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves

Sheriff's Department to fix Lerdo water problem

November 8, 1996

Chinese refugees and other inmates at the Kern County Sheriff's Department's Lerdo Detention Facility will soon benefit from a radical improvement in the quality of the tap water.

The Sheriff's Department recently tested a process recommended by the State Department of Health Services. According to sources inside Lerdo, the test was amazingly successful in producing pleasant-tasting water.

For years, hydrogen sulfide gas has been contained in the Lerdo water, resulting in taste and odor problems. The most recent odor test on the Lerdo water found odor levels greater than 200 units, while the standard is 3 units.

In August, Tim Palmquist discovered a letter from the State Department of Health Services dated January 27, 1995. The letter said "it is unacceptable that the water continue to be considered obnoxious to the inmates" and ordered the Kern County Sheriff's Department to follow a specific procedure to clean up the water.

Until Voice For Life publicized this letter, the Sheriff's Department had ignored the State's demands. Assistant Sheriff Mike LaFave said that he did not believe that the specified process would work, and that any process which could improve the Lerdo water would likely be prohibitively expensive.

Although many criticized Voice For Life as unnecessarily alienating the Sheriff's Department, Voice For Life continued to expose the water problems at Lerdo.

This improvement will benefit not only Chinese refugees and other inmates at Lerdo, but also Sheriff's Deputies and other employees of the Lerdo facility. The new process is expected to be fully implemented in mid-November.

Update on Lerdo water situation

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