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Erin Brockovich Gets Involved In Gardena's Black, Sludgy Water Problem

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Environmental activist Erin Brockovich attended a meeting with Gardena residents to talk about how they're still getting black, smelly, sludgy water pouring from their taps.

The discolored, foul-smelling water streaming from Gardena taps first garnered media attention back in January. Residents say that they still aren't getting clean water, and that the water often smells disgusting, KTLA reports.

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, whose work building a case against Pacific Gas and Electric was documented in the film Erin Brockovich, attended a town hall meeting last night during which urged residents to demand accountability from Golden State Water Company. She and former water utility manager Robert Bowcock described the meeting as a "fact-finding mission" that may lead to legal action, according to the Daily Breeze. About 200 people attended the meeting and complained that the water was causing health issues and wrecking laundry. One hair stylist said she was afraid to use the water when coloring her clients' hair.

Previously, Golden State Water Company told KTLA that the water was safe, because they took samples throughout the area each week and their tests showed the water to be so. One resident at the forum said her animals wouldn't even drink the water. Brockovich told residents at the meeting that "we have a crisis where you now are really being delivered Third World Water."

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Kate Nutting, GSWC's southwest general manager, said that the company has made "great progress" with water issues and that the company hopes "those attempting to enter the discussion now are doing so with the right intentions and not to advance their personal agendas." GSWC says this progress comes from a process called 'unidirectional flushing' that cleans the pipes, and that they've been receiving less complaints. However, residents claim that's a lie and say they've submitted hundreds of complaints just last month.

Bowcock said he was disappointed in GSWC's "flippant response" and suggested that residents file a class-action suit for damages. He thinks that the discolored water is likely coming from a mix of inferior maintenance and mixing water from multiple sources. Nutting said that incorporating groundwater is common in California and lowers the cost of water for consumers.

There will be more forums and meeting at later dates, and legal action against GSWC may be a future step.