The water is getting murkier for residents living in Menifee and a northeastern pocket of Wildomar.
According to Dave Stahovich, chief of staff for Riverside County First District Supervisor Bob Buster, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is investigating County Water of Riverside. The small company, which serves approximately 140 customers in Wildomar and Menifee, is being investigated for criminal activity
Stahovich could not discuss ongoing investigations, but said the state Attorney General’s Office is also looking at the matter.
John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, said he could neither confirm nor deny an investigation.
to comply with a process to remedy an unsafe drinking water situation. Residents served by the utility have been notified that their water contains unhealthy nitrate levels. The affected residents live across the street from The Farm, off Bundy Canyon Road.
“The water system is out of compliance and [the company] has been unresponsive to requirements of funding assistance. CDPH has offered funding to assist them in becoming compliant, but they are not providing the required documentation/information that we need,” said Ronald Owens, Office of Public Affairs for the California Department of Public Health.
At this time, the CDPH and Riverside County, which regulates County Water of Riverside, are working together and assessing options to appropriately respond to the water system, Owens said.
Calls to County Water of Riverside have not been returned.
Stahovich said that under state law, the county cannot operate, maintain or control any utilities. He said the county has inspected and failed County Water of Riverside, but before the county takes drastic action, it must have a provider in place ready to service the 140 customers, and there are legal hurdles to overcome.
that his agency has the infrastructure in place nearby to hook up County Water of Riverside users, but the cost, time frame and legal implications are unknown.
Stahovich said Eastern Municipal Water District could also service the customers, but the chief of staff contends the 140 residences are outside of both water districts’ jurisdictions, so that legal wrinkle still has to be ironed out.
Further complicating the issue is the affected small community hasn’t been on Supervisor Buster’s radar because it’s not in his jurisdiction – it’s in Supervisor Jeff Stone’s third district, Stahovich said.
“The reason we’ve ever heard of it is because it’s not in our district,” the chief of staff said, explaining that the area will fall into the first district after the November election when new boundaries take effect under redistricting.
Stone’s office isn’t up to speed on the County Water of Riverside matter either, Stahovich conceded, but he said the two districts are now working together on a solution.
A call to Stone’s office was not immediately returned Tuesday.
“There are a number of legal avenues being vigorously pursued,” Stahovich said. “Our primary concern is making sure they have water out there.”