Glass Fire: Post-Fire Water Quality Monitoring Response and Results
Santa Rosa Water’s main priority is ensuring the safety of your water supply as we begin the recovery phase from Glass Fire. While the fire did impact portions of the City in the Skyhawk and Oakmont areas it did not adversely affect or disrupt the operations of the water system. It’s important to note that Santa Rosa Water’s distribution system sustained no damage and never lost pressure. This is important to distinguish for two reasons: 1) it means all the engineered water system redundancies performed as intended during the emergency, and 2) because positive pressure remained throughout the event, the potential for the introduction of contaminants into the water supply as a result of fire is verifiably low.
Nonetheless, in an abundance of caution and as a best management practice, our Water Quality Team and Local Operations Division took proactive measures as soon as possible to collect water quality samples and flush the water delivery system before residents were cleared for the repopulation of evacuation zones. As soon it was safe to do so, Santa Rosa Water obtained water quality samples from all reservoirs (tanks) and established sampling stations for a preliminary water quality analysis. Hydrants within 500 feet of any burn zone were sampled and the 26 properties that sustained damage or were lost to fire were also sampled and had their water service flushed, and water meters removed; fully disconnecting those properties from the public water system. Those properties will need to undergo significant standards review and water quality verification before they can be reconnected. The City is already working with those property owners to navigate that process and we remain committed to assisting them with full recovery.
At this time all of our water quality samples for constituents of concern that are typically identified with high intensity fire have come back as “non-detect”, meaning no measurable levels of constituents were detected using US Environmental Protection Agency established laboratory analysis methods. The Water Quality Team is planning to complete one more sampling effort within the next week in order to fully eliminate any possibility of residual effects on water quality. All water data obtained post-fire for benzene, a known contaminant of concern for fire, is publicly available for viewing here.
Lastly, we have become aware of two private water systems within the City limits that sustained damage from the Glass Fire resulting in their water being deemed unsafe for consumption. Those systems are fully independent of Santa Rosa Water’s system and are regulated by the California State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. The fire impacts and resultant water quality concerns for those systems are in no way connected to Santa Rosa Water.