Camp Fire survivor expresses concern over water contamination

Action News Now spoke with Brian Sheets, who expressed concern over the water quality after moving back into his home in Magalia after the Camp Fire.

Posted: Apr 22, 2019 6:15 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Action News Now spoke with Brian Sheets, who expressed concern over the water quality after moving back into his home in Magalia after the Camp Fire. 

As soon as he moved in he and his sister started drinking the water.

After reading some reports, he started having concerns about benzene being in the water.

When Sheets was contacting the Del Oro Water District Officials he said he was told to smell his water.

However, after some research, he realized that was not enough.

“Like I said a very extensive article they described the methods they used to test it, they have to take meticulous care with that," he said. "The specimens have to be kept under ice until they get to the lab. I mean it’s not a smell test by any of the imagination.”

Sheets did some more research and ended up being worried since he could not get any information because he is not the homeowner.

“The article was very extensive, but they only mentioned Magalia in like three sentences," Sheets said. "But from what I could tell from my research it was originally discovered in Magalia.”

Action News Now reached out to the Del Oro Water District Officials on Sheets’ behalf.

"Testing that occurred on March 11 indicates that some dead-end service lines that once served standing homes in the Paradise Pines District had detectable levels of the organic chemical benzene," The district said, in regards to the water being contaminated.

"Twelve service lines to burned homes were tested after being stagnant for 72 hours; five of these indicated the presence of benzene over the state’s standard of 1 ug/L and the follow-up testing results were not detected. Follow up sampling of the main line water drawn through these 12 service connections did not show the presence of benzene.”

Officials added that extensive testing continues before service in the burn area of the affected districts can be restored. Customers need to contact Del Oro water and then Del Oro Operators will conduct testing for benzene at the location's service line before the meter.

With non-detected results, it is then the responsibility of the customer to test the service line from the meter to the structure and Del Oro will help facilitate testing for the customer before they move back in.

Officials said that Sheets' water is safe to drink they let him know that. 

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