Drinking Water and Plumbing After the Camp Fire

By Julie Jenks, active volunteer at the Camp Fire Zone Project and Biology Instructor at Butte College

About the Event

Experts in plumbing and engineering from Purdue University held a community event entitled “Drinking Water and Plumbing After the Camp Fire” on Thursday June 27, 2019 at the Paradise Alliance Church. Water contamination has been found in the water distribution systems of both Paradise Irrigation District (PID) and Del Oro Water Company after the Camp Fire. Both water supply companies are working hard to understand the extent of water contamination with ongoing testing and to resolve the contamination issues within their districts, but it will take time. Water contamination presents challenges for those in standing homes, those living in temporary dwellings (like RVs) on property where a structure burned, and those rebuilding.

The Drinking Water and Plumbing After the Camp Fire event had two parts. The first part of the event featured interactive stations hosted by experts to give attendees an opportunity to learn about plumbing and water with hands-on examples and activities and to ask questions. The second part of the event presented the results of the Camp Fire Drinking Water Survey, details of that presentation can be found at the end of this article. The aim of this post is to share some of that hands-on learning with those unable to attend in person.

Event Hosts: Dr. Andrew Whelton and Dr. Caitlin Proctor, along with three graduate students (Tolulupe “Tolu” Odimayomi, Christian Ley, Yoorae Noh) and an undergraduate research student (Qi Erica Wang) all from Purdue University’s Division of Environmental Engineering were flown out to host the event via funding from the Paradise Rotary Foundation. Joining the team of experts to host the event were Dr. Jackson Webster from CSU Chico’s Department of Civil Engineering, Dr. Charlotte Smith from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and Jim Smith, a retired water treatment operator from East Bay Municipal Water District. Also among the experts were Dr. Kristin Milinkevich and Dr. Michael Lodewyk from the Chemistry Department at Butte College as well as Julie Jenks from the Biology Department at Butte College (and a Zone Captain), all of whom were directly impacted by the Camp Fire.

Read more on: engineering.purdue.edu