Post-Fire Water Quality Advisory Update

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May 18, 2018


Santa Rosa Water's number one priority is safely restoring water service to the Fountaingrove neighborhood under a water quality advisory. Click here for a map of the area.

The devastating October wildfires damaged and contaminated this neighborhood’s water system. The contamination occurred when burning plastics, smoke, soot, and ash were drawn into the water system. These contaminants adhered and absorbed into water services and some system components and are leaching into the water system.

The ongoing investigation and data confirm that the fire caused the contamination, the contamination is concentrated in water services, and that over time the contamination will flush out of the system. What has not been confirmed is how long it will take to flush the contamination out of the system. The current sampling data is promising, in that the level of contamination in the water quality advisory area has decreased overtime.

By taking a phased approach to resolve the issue, including removing contamination by replacing services, the City may be able to accelerate the restoration of water quality in the advisory area.

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The path towards safely restoring water quality requires a phased approach, which uses data to identify the location of contamination to determine if targeted repair or full replacement is necessary to restore water quality in the advisory area. Through our investigation, our experts have pinpointed the highest levels of contamination in water services and the investigation is showing that by replacing water services contaminant levels are decreasing. We are optimistic, based on the data, that removing these contaminated service lines will remove contamination and help us identify whether targeted or full replacement of the water system is necessary. This phased approach may save time and reduce disruption of rebuilding/construction activities.

Next steps include replacing water services to all 352 properties in the advisory area and resampling to confirm the contamination has been removed. The City will also install activated carbon water filters at the surviving homes in the advisory area to ensure water meets all regulatory standards. Once the contamination is removed from the services and filters are installed on the surviving homes, the City will begin the process of reconnecting the water system in the Fountaingrove area. Reconnecting the water system will allow our operators, engineers, and scientists to test the system under normal operations. The water system within the Fountaingrove advisory area is currently isolated within the advisory area and water is only moving through areas serving homes. Please note that the advisory area will remain isolated from the rest of the Citys water system when returning to normal operations. As soon as the water system is reconnected within the advisory area the City will use sampling data to determine if targeted or full replacement is needed.


Inside of the water quality advisory area all properties will Replacing service linehave the City owned portions of their water service replaced, from the water main to the meter, and will be notified of the installation and follow-up sampling via mail.

In fire impacted areas, outside of the water quality advisory area, the City has, or is in the process of, replacing 150 water services, from the main to the meter, to destroyed properties that have shown some level of contamination. Replacing water services has been effective in removing the contamination outside of the advisory area. Please note that extensive sampling confirms that water being delivered to homes, business, schools, and hospitals outside the advisory area meet all regulatory standards.

Service line replacements inside and outside of the water quality advisory area will be completed by a contractor in mid-August.

As a result of the contamination coming from melting plastic on the property side, as well as smoke, soot and ash entering the water system, we strongly encourage property owners in the fire impacted areas to test and/or replace their property side water service line, from the meter to the home.

For questions about the water service replacement project and timing please contact Jillian Tilles, Associate Civil Engineer at 707-543-3878 or


To minimize impacts to rebuilding in the Fountaingrove water quality advisory area, the City is committed to install and maintain, as necessary, temporary activated carbon filters to provide drinking water that meets all regulatory standards for occupancy.


  • For information on connecting to water and sewer service, please contact Water Engineering Services: call 707-543-3959 or 707-543-4613, email
  • To receive updates on the water quality advisory, please sign up to receive our eNewsletter by visiting


Additional Resources:



Post-Fire Water Quality Advisory Website

Up-to-date information on Santa Rosa Water's post-fire water quality investigation.



Providing residents affected by the Sonoma County fires with a one-stop-shop for information and resources for recovery efforts.