(Photos: David Bacon)
Toolville, California - Toolville is a tiny colonia, or unincorporated and informal settlement of about a hundred families, in the rural San Joaquin Valley, just a couple of miles outside the small town of Exeter. Over recent years, Toolville residents have discovered dangerous concentrations of nitrates in their water supply, which is pumped from the aquifer below the homes. As in many San Joaquin Valley communities, overuse of the water table, especially by giant industrial farms, has led to a growing concentration of fertilizer and other ag chemicals in the water that remains.
Toolville's residents are all working-class people, many of them farm workers. They can use the water from their taps for washing dishes and clothes, but have to buy bottled water for drinking and cooking.