Project #5106

Post-Wildfire Distribution System Water Quality Impacts and Potential Responses

In Progress
Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Jian Zhang, PE, Ph.D.
Purdue University
Water Quality
Asset Management
Distribution System Management


As a result of climate change, the number and severity of wildfires in the western United States are increasing. Volatile organic compound (VOC) and semi-VOC contamination has been found in water distribution systems after wildfires in California. Preliminary research indicates that thermal degradation of plastic assets within distribution systems may be a potential source of this contamination. This project will increase the understanding of the degree to which thermally damaged plastic assets contribute to the observed VOC and semi-VOC contamination, and propose response and recovery actions that impacted utilities can take. Research partners: Contra Costa Water District, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and San Jose Water and Environmental Services.