Whelton and Proctor have given a biased and seemingly unlearned account of the situation in Paradise. I would have appreciated them contacting me to discuss their concerns before going forward with such a misleading and provocative article.
Thanks for the comment. Yes, agreed. That’s the failure of the state and federal government and even the county health department. They basically left homeowners on their own to fend for themselves. If you are one of those individuals I sincerely apologize we were unable to convince those agencies to help you. On numerous occasions we pushed then to take action. They chose to ignore science, past disaster responses where government agencies have helped people. FOR PLUMBING TESTING….Please ignore the state’s claim that a single water sample from a kitchen sink (cold water only) will determine if the entire house is or is not safe. For city water distribution systems (with multiple pipes, water use points) we do not sample at a single hydrant and claim the entire city’s water is safe, we sample multiple locations because we know drinking water safety can change in the piping network. The same goes for plumbing. Water safety at the kitchen sink does not equal water safety at the bathroom sink or water safety in the shower. What needed to be done is government agencies supporting in-home testing across the impacted area. Because of the agency failures, if you have an insurance company, we recommend that they support appropriate testing. They would need to hire an expert to collect water samples, transport them to the lab, analyze them, and interpret the results. If they follow the state’s advice their results will not best protect homeowners. IN TERMS OF WATER TREATMENT…..filters that were being installed by commercial vendors like culligan, north state water treatment, aquasana, and others have not been certified to make highly contaminated water safe (2000+ ppb benzene). They are certified to make water safe at much much lower benzene levels (15 ppb to 5 ppb), and this does not take into account the other chemicals present that can interfere with filter performance. [As a side note, one vendor keeps sending me email and text message marketing material about their systems claiming I need to buy it to make safe water in Paradise. They think I live there. I’ve asked them repeatedly to take me off their mailing list but they continue to ignore my request. I can only imagine persons in the Camp Fire area continue to be harassed by some organizations.] Any recommendation to use filters should have been accompanied with formal verification testing (like EPA and state’s have done elsewhere). Here again, the government agencies failed the community. They have no idea if the filters are working under Camp Fire contaminated drinking water conditions. Just look to the East where in Newark, New Jersey some of the PUR water filters given out to the citizens were failing to reduce lead in home drinking water. The majority of lead filters worked in New Jersey, but not all. So as long as you don’t live in a home with a failing filter you are okay. The only way USEPA and the State of New Jersey found out citizens were at risk was because they conducted a credible field test. So, any filters installed after a disaster that are recommended by a government agency (see California) must be accompanied with a field verification and monitoring program otherwise that action too may place human health at risk. SO WHAT CAN YOU DO…. If you are in California contact Governor Newsom’s office and ask for testing data that shows the filters people are using in Butte County (as recommended by the State itself) have been working, are working, and ask when they should be replaced. Manufacturer specifications DO NOT pertain to highly contaminated drinking water like in the Camp Fire area. Any questions please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, I’m sorry we were unable to prompt Governor Newsom’s administration to appropriately protect the public in the Camp Fire burn area. We tried repeatedly by presenting evidence (peer-reviewed no less), testing data, provided insights from other experts outside Purdue, and provided other information to them. They chose and continue to choose to fail to act with it for reasons I do not yet fully understand. -Andrew
Most people do not have the resorces to engage a water purity expert. Can you recommend a reliable test kit/procedure available to the layman? How about a list of adequate home filters that will contain most / all of these pollutants?
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