Like other areas in California, the groundwater beneath Allensworth contains dangerous levels of arsenic. Those who live in cities and more suburban areas can afford to remove arsenic from their water, but many people in small and rural communities don't have that luxury. They must choose between drinking contaminated tap water or purchasing bottled water—and some people who have private wells are potentially unaware that their water is contaminated.
In collaboration with Hutson and other Allensworth community leaders, CEE professor Ashok Gadgil and his CEE-based team are field testing a simple and affordable new arsenic treatment system. The purpose of the new system is to help small, rural communities like Allensworth get arsenic-free drinking water. UC Berkeley highlighted Gadgil's research and findings in a feature story here.