After the Fire: Navigating Post-Wildfire Water Contamination Challenges
Willis Hon moderated "After the Fire: Navigating Post-Wildfire Water Contamination Challenges" during the Association of California Water Agencies 2019 Fall Conference & Exhibition on December 4, 2019 in San Diego, CA.
Following recent catastrophic wildfires in California, public water systems who survived those disasters are now facing a new challenge in the form of water supply contamination and discharge water quality issues resulting from those deadly fires. In Paradise, CA, where the historic Camp Fire claimed many lives and caused unprecedented property damage in November 2018, there have been reports of cancer-causing benzene, arsenic and other volatile organic compounds found in the town's water distribution system. In Santa Rosa, CA, where the massive Tubbs Fire caused major death and destruction in October 2017, the city faced similar issues and had to spend $8 million replacing hydrants, valves, and other water system components.
This panel discussion examined the experiences of those water agencies as well as others facing post-wildfire water contamination issues. The panel also discussed public health risks, strategies for remediation, and important regulatory considerations for re-establishing safe drinking water service, including compliance with CEQA and other relevant environmental review laws and safe drinking water standards.