Residents in the Larkfield area north of Santa Rosa were urged not to drink tap water there for the foreseeable future, as the devastating Tubbs fire ravaging the region has damaged storage tanks and a pumping station, officials said Monday.
The area remains under a mandatory evacuation order, but officials from California American Water, which supplies some 2,400 homes and businesses there, said water may not be confirmed drinkable until Wednesday at the earliest. Officials late Monday afternoon were focusing on shutting off running water to damaged homes to provide “plenty of water for firefighting,” California American Water spokesman Evan Jacobs said.
Then, the water will need to be tested — and it could take one or two days to get those results — before it can be deemed safe to drink, according to Jacobs.
“We still have water. We’re pushing it out as quickly as possible so that the folks with fire departments have water to fight fires,” Jacobs said. “But we really don’t know the quality of the water at this point, so we decided to take the precaution and ask people not to drink or consume the water until we can make sure that the quality is good.”
Scott Alonso, a spokesman for the Sonoma County health department, said he was not aware of any other issues regarding drinking water in the county as of Monday evening.
With the Tubbs fire also causing power outages and forcing the evacuations of the hospitals operated by Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health, Alonso urged residents to ensure they have plenty of bottled water and to use the hospitals that remain open only for medical emergencies.
At the county’s evacuation centers, nurses and Red Cross volunteers are available to help evacuees who need medication order it at a local pharmacy, Alonso said.
The county had more than 20 evacuation centers open and accepting more people Monday evening. A full list is available at the county’s website: bit.ly/2zb08mW