Celerina and Bartolo Chavez have lived in Arvin, a small agricultural town in California's Central Valley, for 20 years. Three years ago, they found out that their water was contaminated with a chemical called 123 Trichloropropane (or 123 TCP) — a known carcinogen and by-product of pesticides originally sold by Dow Chemical and Shell Oil Company. The California State Water Board recently passed a measure to regulate the chemical, but with ongoing legal battles with Dow and Shell, and the time it will take to treat the water, it could be years before residents benefit from it. Meanwhile, valley residents such as Celerina and Bartolo must find alternative sources of clean water, often at their own expense. 

Originally published at BOOM California. Co-produced with Briana Flin