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Key Terms

Navigating this website and its linked reports, you may come across some words that don't come up in day-to-day life. Below you will find definitions of these words as well as why they are relevant to this project. 

Water (in)justice

Water (in)justice implies that water-related issues, such as drought and access to clean water, impact the health and livelihood of certain communities in disproportionate ways. In other words, unjust water systems create unequal access to water resources, widening the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots.


Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of over 5,000 man-made substances used in products such as firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and water-proofing treatments. PFAS are extremely persistent in the environment, lending them the nickname forever chemicals”. PFAS enter the body through drinking contaminated water or consuming contaminated foods, and they are able to accumulate in the bloodstream.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal agency designed to protect the environment as well as people from environmental hazards. One role of the EPA is to put forth regulations and recommendations for acceptable levels of contaminants in tap water. 

Superfund Site

A Superfund site is an area with a high concentration of toxic chemicals that the federal government has directed funds toward cleaning up. The George Air Force Base, situated just to the east of Adelanto, is a Superfund site. 5 out of 7 of Adelanto’s ground water wells are in extreme proximity to this site. 


Corrosion is the gradual destruction of materials, such as metal, due to a chemical reaction with their environment. The discoloration of Adelanto’s water is a strong indicator that the pipes from which Adelanto receives its water are corroding and pipe materials are entering the water.  


In the US, the EPA requires the chlorination of all public water supplies. Chlorate (which is derived from chlorine) is used in the water supply to disinfect bacteria, parasites, viruses, and other microorganisms from the water. Adelanto residents report their water commonly has a chlorine odor. When interacting with organic matters, the chlorine smell becomes more prominent, indicating the potential that there are high levels of organic matter in the water or the city is over-chlorinating the water. 


Groundwater is water found beneath the earth’s surface as opposed to on top, such as in a lake or river. Adelanto obtains its water from the Mojave River Groundwater Basin. The city currently pumps from 7 active groundwater wells that meet water quality standards out 15 wells total. There is reason to believe the city will deactivate more wells due to contamination levels.


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