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Water progress on the ridge 18 months after the Camp Fire

A year and a half after the Camp Fire, most people living on the ridge now have access to clean water in Paradise and Magalia.

Posted: May 7, 2020 8:43 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - A year and a half after the Camp Fire, most people living on the ridge now have access to clean water. 

The Paradise Irrigation District says it sent 1,800 letters to property owners saying they now have clean drinkable water.

Friday marks 18 months since the deadly Camp Fire and the town is still working on rebuilding its infrastructure.

Geralynne Rader lives in Paradise, she said, "The initial cleanup from the fire was really quick and I think it all caught us by storm."

Rader lost her home and she now rents a room at a house in Paradise, but every day she comes back to spend time on her property.

"I wanna look back there and I wanna see the irises and the flag and the trees even though they're burnt up I wanna see the good not the bad," Rader said.

A crucial part of living back on the ridge was having clean and drinkable water.

Rader tells Action News Now it took a year to get water to the house where she's living now.

"She recently did receive a notice that the water was cleared but it took a long time," she said.

PID said all but eight standing structures have been tested in the town.

"For one reason or another maybe we don't have water on a main or a specific reason that's been challenging," Ladrini said.

PID Field Superintendent Jim Ladrini said over the phone, crews are still replacing service laterals at burnt lots.

"That are being rebuilt that new home require a certificate of occupancy or final inspections," he said.

He said crews cleared 96 percent of the water mains, "Meaning that we are delivering potable water in those mains the water quality is high and good in those particular mains. We anticipate through this summer that we could be nearing 98, 99 percent of our system existing system back up and running either through sampling and clearing or repair."

Michael Graziano from paradise said, "It's good that they're still working and still out there fixing the pipes and getting everything in order that's a good thing."

Ladrini said he's impressed by the staff at PID and statistics that reveal a positive recovery for the town.

"The people that are doing what they're doing day in and day out in Paradise is just a testament to greatness," he said.

Ladrini says crews installed about 1,500 backflow meters for people to use water under the water quality advisory.

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DEL ORO WATER COMPANY - Magalia, Calif.

The Assistant Superintendent Jim Roberts said they haven't found any contamination in standing structures so far.

Roberts said crews are still testing burnt lots upon request of the property owner wanting to rebuild.

He said the results have been clear since December, until last week. That's when one result came back just a hair above the maximum contaminant level.

Roberts said working with the State Water Board they sampled about 10 percent of the standing homes in the burned area.

"We did that and they said well if we come up with all the results coming out as non-detect it's fairly safe to assume that we aren't going to find anything in these other standing homes," he said.

Roberts said they still have a long way to go. They tested more than 240 lots in Paradise Pines – 55 in the Magalia system and 36 in the Lime Saddle district.

Roberts told Action News Now there are still about 1,800 service lines that will eventually need to be tested.

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Tuesday was another sunny and unseasonably warm to hot day for much of northern California. It was much like Monday, except the wind was stronger, and the wind will be much stronger through much of the next week.
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