West Side Park Water Mutual Company

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
West Side Park Mutual Water Company, located in the Antelope Valley near the town of Palmdale, California is managed by an elected board of five, has over 150 connections and has been serving the West Side Park community since 1950.

Phil Wood, board president recently received word that the AWWA (American Water Works Association) would be honoring the Water Company as an Exemplary Small Water Company. It was not too long after that, that trouble came knocking at the door.

First a Chevron Service Station owner filed for a permit to build a full-service station with car wash, auto lube, etc. directly across the street from the water company well sites. The permeable desert soil is well known to transmit containments at an alarming rate. The Water Company investigated litigation to disallow the permit and learned that court judgments against oil companies are blocked because of the Federal "safe harbor" act that protects them from liability for gasoline spills contaminating water.

Second, within West Side Park's boundaries, an A-2 residential area, code enforcement found 9 violators conducting commercial businesses including a significant trucking operation.  Instead of enforcing the law with a cease and desist order, Los Angeles County is pushing to change the zoning to M-1.  Not only will this effect residential property values, but also more worrisome to the Water Company and homeowners, is the possible threat to ground water from industrial pollution.

Phil as Chairman of the Board is fighting this onslaught to protect the safety of an exemplary Water District, one of the best managed and best equipped we have seen.  So far EPA seems of little help.  Their strategy is to get their story out, advise others of their situation and to seek advice from those who have had or know about similar situations in their area.

Readers of this newsletter are all in the drinking water industry and share common concerns. We at Iris are interested in supporting our industry and have a network of dealers and clients that could benefit Phil Wood and the West Side Park Mutual Water Company. Please contact Phil at info@WestSideparkmutual.com.  We will be following West Side Park Water Mutual Company's challenge and will report on the results as they unfold.