Boulder Creek officials warn residents not to drink tap water amid CZU Fire contamination

Wildfires

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Officials in Boulder Creek are warning residents not to drink the tap water due to possible contamination caused by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

“We have a seven-mile high-density polyethylene pipeline that crosses that watershed and picks up water from several different surface water intakes and brings that water into our treatment plant, 100-percent of that pipeline was destroyed by the fire,” said San Lorenzo Valley Water District official Rick Rogers.

The pipe melted into the landscape, and the “Do Not Drink” order was issued amid possible contamination of benzene and other toxics resulting from the melted plastic, a scenario that arose following 2018’s paradise fire.

“There’s a potential, a potential, it’s strictly precautionary, for contamination from the chemical compounds in the pipe,” Rogers added.   

The district is stockpiling and making deliveries of bottled water for the roughly 31-hundred connections impacted by the order. So far testing has shown no contamination but more tests are needed before the order is lifted.

“We dont want customers to thin that if we’re getting good samples that they can go back to sing water, they need to wait until we get the all-clear from the state,” said Rogers.

The new pipeline will likely be underground.  since the fire also claimed some 4-million gallons of stored water, customers are being urged to conserve water and reminded not to drink or boil their tap water until they get the all clear.

“We don’t recommend using the water for anything other than flushing the toilet or outdoor use so for right now until we lift the order we recommend bottled water,” said Rogers.

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