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Wildfire Resources for Public Water Systems

Infrastructure/water supply issues

Contact your Local Emergency Manager and notify OHA Drinking Water Services (DWS) if you are having issues providing adequate water supply or need assistance.  ORWARN and OAWU can also be contacted to provide mutual aid from other neighboring water systems or a circuit rider.


Loss of pressure/distribution system contaminants

Loss of pressure due to a power outage or other operational malfunction without significant fire damage to structures can be addressed as usual by issuing a boil water advisory (MS Word or PDF) until the repairs are complete, pressure is restored and the system is flushed, and samples show an absence of coliforms.

At systems with widespread loss of pressure and significant fire damage to structures and service lines, negative pressure in the system may have allowed gaseous contaminants from melting plastics to enter the system.  Benzene contamination in the City of Paradise, CA following the 2018 Camp Fire is a notable example.  In these instances, DWS recommends systems issue a Do-Not-Drink advisory (MS Word or PDF), unidirectionally flush lines and sample the distribution system for VOCs in addition to coliform after restoring pressure to the system to ensure the water is safe.  Contact DWS for guidance regarding sampling.


Financial and Technical Assistance

Contact your County Emergency Manager regarding FEMA support and processes, or the FEMA Oregon Wildfire Incident webpage. DWS will provide additional information about disaster-related financial assistance as it becomes available.

Oregon’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is a source of financial assistance. In emergency situations, eligible projects can be expedited through the project review and rating process.  Eligible water systems include Community Water Systems and Nonprofit Non-Community Water Systems.   Eligible infrastructure projects include planning, design, and construction activities, and most projects qualify for some level of subsidy (i.e., loan forgiveness).  Sustainable Infrastructure Planning Projects (SIPP)  can receive funding up to $20,000 per project in loan forgiveness. Source Water Protection grants up to $30,000 per system are also available.

If interested, please contact the Business Oregon Regional Development Officer (RDO) for your county to discuss the best drinking water funding options for infrastructure improvements that meet your specific and immediate needs. 

The Drinking Water program Circuit Rider is also available to help prepare DWSRF Letter of Intent (LOI) documents and to provide short-term technical assistance with operational issues.

If your system has an urgent Source Water Protection matter that may need immediate attention, emergency grant funds may be available. Contact Tom Pattee, Groundwater Coordinator/SWP: or 541-726-2587 ext. 24


Other Resources

DWS’s Emergency Response webpage contains information on best practices for water systems affected by fires and other useful information.

Oregon Water Resources Department has developed Curtailment resources  and examples.


Contact Drinking Water Services or 971-673-0405