Yoshira Ornelas, a University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) graduate trainee, has spent two years studying well water contamination in a rural southern Arizona community. On December 4, 2014, she presented her findings to 50 community members at the Tubac Community Center.
Ornelas is a doctoral student in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, working with UA SRP investigator Paloma Beamer. Her study on private wells, which unlike public drinking water sources are not regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, has shown elevated levels of arsenic, nitrates, and E. coli. In addition to sharing results, Ornelas encouraged attendees, including both study participants and well owners who were not part of the study, to maintain regular testing of their wells, and offered suggestions for effective treatment for the different contaminants.
This study was collaboration between a local non-profit organization Friends of the Santa Cruz River and the Environmental Justice small Grant program supported by the Environmental Protection Agency.