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Our Future After the Fire: Paradise water plan unveiled by Irrigation District

A plan has been unveiled by the Paradise Irrigation District that could bring free-flowing water for those who are living in the Camp Fire burn scar.

Posted: Apr 18, 2019 6:59 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - A plan has been unveiled by the Paradise Irrigation District that could bring free-flowing water for those who are living in the Camp Fire burn scar.

For Chris Young, having lived in Paradise for 60 years, currently not having water service is frustrating. Yet, it pales in comparison to other realities he now faces.

"We lost everything, my sister, my daughter," said Young. "I come by here and I get five cases of water a week. You don't have a choice. I just put up with it."

Those who did not lose their homes or businesses, or who want to rebuild in Paradise, will have to wait for clean and safe water to be restored.

"We're hoping that 50% of the standing homes will be cleared for potable service by the beginning of next year," said Kevin Phillips, the Paradise Irrigation District Manager.

Phillips said the agency is working in collaboration with a host of departments to craft a plan forward. The District will begin isolating each main distribution line, then testing for contamination. If contamination is found, that line will be turned off and eventually replaced.

"FEMA requires that you show damage to the structure for it to be replaced. And with contamination you can't see damage, you can't smell damage, you can only test for the damage of contamination," said Phillips on why they do not simply replace the entire system.

"Something like this has never happened before so we have a lot of unknowns," said Jackson Webster, an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering.

"What we're struggling with is contamination within the distribution system, and this came from melting plastics that are now stuck to the walls of the distribution pipes, slowly being released back into the water. You can't just flush water out and have it go back to being clean water, because it will continue to re-absorb contaminants into the new water," said Webster,

Phillips says monitoring and testing is the closest the Agency can come to answering an unknown.

"When we say this line is good, we want to certify this line is good and it's not good for today, but for tomorrow and through the years to come," said Phillips.

About long-term legal ramifications of deeming water lines safe to then have them turning out to be not safe, Phillips said that is something his team has discussed with Cal OES and FEMA. He insists that the Paradise Irrigation District will push for new lines in as many cases as possible to ensure public safety.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 786168

Reported Deaths: 15016
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2607976353
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino52471908
Orange520631128
San Diego44577760
Kern31379354
Fresno27668355
Sacramento21297375
Alameda20558374
Santa Clara20410296
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16319335
Contra Costa15837199
Tulare15599256
Ventura12328143
Imperial11558314
San Francisco1074599
San Mateo9522143
Monterey946767
Santa Barbara8862110
Merced8750134
Kings728377
Sonoma7060114
Marin6557112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer346641
San Luis Obispo336927
Butte274835
Yolo274754
Santa Cruz22188
Sutter164210
Napa161413
San Benito130111
Yuba11187
El Dorado10684
Mendocino84918
Lassen7310
Shasta68714
Glenn5503
Colusa5096
Nevada5066
Tehama4984
Humboldt4826
Lake46510
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1652
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc240
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Broken Clouds
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Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 86°
Oroville
Clear
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Paradise
Broken Clouds
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Chester
Clear
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Red Bluff
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Willows
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Hi: 93° Lo: 56°
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Air quality has worsened for most of northern California as a lot of smoke from our area fires as settled over the valleys and foothills. We can expect more hazy, smoky sunshine on Tuesday with light to moderate breezes as autumn begins.
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