Debris in Paradise, California, after the Camp Fire, Nov. 17, 2018.
Senior Airman Crystal Housman/U.S. Air National Guard
Two environmental engineers say governments need to do more to protect people from possible water contamination after wildfires.
The 2018 Camp Fire north of Sacramento burned everything in its path: cars, power lines, and buildings – and contaminated local drinking water.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Buildings aren’t the only things at risk in wildfires. Recent disasters in California have left local water system contaminated with toxic chemicals afterward, slowing return and recovery.
Warning signs in the Newark Health Department after the city learned that lead service lines to houses still were contaminating water.
Newark is the latest US city to struggle with high lead levels in drinking water. Ending this public health crisis will require more money and enforcement, plus stricter water testing standards.
Bottled water distribution in Glenwood, Iowa, where massive spring flooding along the Missouri River disrupted drinking water treatment, April 3, 2019.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik
A grade of 92 is an A at most schools, but for tap water it means that millions of Americans drink water that fails to met federal standards.
How long has that water already been in the system?
In many municipalities, aging water infrastructure is serving fewer people than it was built to accommodate. Out of sight has meant out of mind – but resulting changes in water quality may affect safety.
Hoosick Fall, N.Y. is one of many U.S. communities whose drinking water has been contaminated with PFOA or PFOS.
AP Photo/Mike Groll, File
EPA is moving to regulate two chemicals from a group called PFAS that are contaminating drinking water. A public health expert explains why the agency should take much broader action.