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Purdue University releases results of drinking water survey

On Thursday, Purdue University presented the results of a community survey given to Camp Fire survivors.

Posted: Jun 27, 2019 11:30 PM

PARADISE, Calif. -- On Thursday, Purdue University presented the results of a community survey given to Camp Fire survivors.

The study aims to give the community and officials a sense of how the Camp Fire changed what people who didn't lose their homes think of drinking water.

"You're very cautious and it's a constant worry," said Kyla Awalt, a Camp Fire survivor. 

Awalt is talking about what it's like living in a town without drinkable water.

"You want to make sure you're not exposing yourself to anything when you go into a business or a restaurant. That's the first thing you think about when you go to wash your hands," Awalt said. 

It's this kind of anxiety that Purdue University found reports of in its drinking water survey. More than 200 people responded back in May.

"Figure out what the attitudes, perceptions and experiences were for people not only in Paradise, but also served by Del Oro Company and people in private wells," said Andrew Whelton, associate professor at Purdue University.

12% of people in the survey said they plan to return. A little less than 10% said they are waiting for safe water and or cleaning and rebuilding.

"Primarily the contamination has been isolated to service lines. These lines that go from the water main under the street to the water meter," Whelton said.

"I'm okay with less people, I'm okay with no restaurants, I'm not okay with poisoned water," said Diane Lung, a Camp Fire survivor.

How long is it going to take? It may take two years, it may take three years, it may take less. In the next several months you're going to see some timelines about how long it will take," Whelton said.

Awalt said, ultimately she thinks the responsibility to have clean water falls on each homeowner.

"We're seven months into this, we're moving along, people are getting testing results. It's almost like it can't happen soon enough to get people back home," Awalt said. 

If you'd like to take a look at the full water survey results, we'll have a link on our website.

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