czu-complex-fire-damages-crucial-water-supply-pipes

The CZU Lightning Complex Fire that stretches from San Mateo County to Santa Cruz County devastated neighborhoods, roads and crucial water supply pipes. 

Hundreds of families have been told not to drink the water, even if they boil it.

There’s a lot of cleaning up to do, especially at the water district facilities, and some of that cleanup includes removing damaged trees that stand 100-200 feet high.

A 180-foot fir tree came down on the San Lorenzo Valley Water District Treatment Facility Wednesday and the district said all the pipes leading to the steel tanks burned up. 

Four million gallons of water was lost, as well as 7.5 miles of raw water supply. 

“They’re providing water for all the residents. We can go and grab two cases of water per household per day,” said Bruce Baker from Brookdale. “I brush my teeth and do my coffee with their water but flush my toilet and shower with my own water.”

But to replace pipes, Travis Tree Professionals had to clear the way. 

“We have to make it safe for all the people working on the water tanks here in Boulder Creek,” said Bob Pilgreen from Tavis Tree Professionals.

Santa Cruz County is working with water districts to help restore water. San Lorenzo alone has 18,000 customers but says it managed to isolate the treatment plant before the fire, minimizing contamination. 

Still, several hundred homes were warned by the State Water Board not to drink or even boil the water right now.

“I don’t see any evidence that the water is actually bad,” said Baker. “But they’re testing the systems one by one. “

That type of assessment is probably going to be reassuring for many people, those who actually could come home.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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