By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

water access lidThe Camp Fire in Paradise California killed more than 80 residents, destroyed 19,000 buildings, and six months afterward, the rural community is struggling to rebuild—only to learn more recently that its water pipes contain cancer-causing benzene.

According to CBS News, the irrigation district serving the area around Paradise has found the pipes are contaminated by either melted water meters or toxic air from the fire that drifted into the water system.

“We’ve tested about 500 service lines in our district at this point and about 30 percent of them have come up with contamination,” Paradise Irrigation District manager Kevin Phillips told CBS News.

Large water tanks serve residents now, costing families about $250 every three to four weeks. Phillips has said that the district is testing water flowing across 173 miles of pipes to determine which sections should be replaced. This testing could take two years. Until then, the water is unusable.

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