Substance including elements associated with diesel found in Kern River, drinking water not impacted: water agencies


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A substance with trace amounts of elements associated with diesel was found in the Kern River last week, and water, city and county agencies said the drinking water supply has not been affected.

The substance found in the Kern River last week included trace amounts of diesel hydrocarbons, according to officials.

Officials say once the substance was found, agencies took steps to test water, investigate and remove the substance using absorbent booms.

The hydrocarbons detected through lab analysis of the water sample are associated with diesel, City of Bakersfield Public Information Officer Joe Conroy said. Those diesel hyrdrocarbons floated on the surface of the water, and the absorbent booms removed them, Conroy said.

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Water providers are continuing to monitor and water and make sure it is safe to drink.

In a news release from city officials, David Beard, the Kern County Water Agency Improvement District No. 4 Manager said:

We tested water samples immediately after this was reported, and public health experts at the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water confirmed there was no acute risk to public health. As such, the agencies have been working together since then to understand the scope of the situation and assist wherever possible in order to resolve it. In addition, ongoing, follow-up testing shows no detections of the substance in the treated water.

David Beard

Water officials ask if anyone knows or saw any unusual event in the Kern River near Hart Park recently to contact the Kern County Public Health at or the City of Bakersfield at


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