Environment & Science

New study could prove more drinking water available in Antelope Valley

A new study from the US Geological Survey and Los Angeles County could yield a new source of drinking water for the Antelope Valley.

Arsenic, a chemical with the potential to poison humans, occurs naturally in water deep in the ground in the Antelope Valley. Water from reserves there would have to be thoroughly cleaned and tested, which costs money that California doesn't have.

Federal scientists and L.A. County engineers plan to construct an acre-sized pond with layers of sediment and gravel underneath the surface. Then they'll drill to the deep portion of the Antelope Valley Groundwater System, and pump water from there to spread on the new pond.

The geological survey scientists have a theory that the arsenic in the water they're pumping will attach to the minerals it percolates past in the pond. Alumina, iron, and manganese oxides on grains of minerals could essentially clean up the water enough to make it drinkable.

Money for the project comes from the federal government, Los Angeles County, the regional water agency and the Water Research Foundation. However, the federal government may have to bare the brunt of the financial weight.

Testing and sampling the water will take time. Researchers hope to demonstrate results within 3 years.