City of Santa Paula warns residents not to drink water after break-in at main reservoir storage tank

Ashley Mackey Image
Tuesday, June 25, 2024
City of Santa Paula warns residents not to drink tap water
The city of Santa Paula is warning residents not to drink its tap water due to a recent break-in at the main reservoir storage tank.

SANTA PAULA, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Santa Paula is warning residents not to drink its tap water due to a recent break-in at the main reservoir storage tank.

It's unclear when exactly the break-in occurred, but according to a notice issued by the city on Monday, the water may have been contaminated. Santa Paula Deputy City Manager Jonathan Royas said clothes and other belongings were left behind, prompting the tank to be taken offline to be drained and disinfected.

"The city tried to react as quick as possible," said Royas, who said the issue impacts 50% of the city's population. "As soon as we found out about this [Monday,] this station here was up by about 6 p.m. [Monday,] providing free water to our residents, as much water as they can take."

Royas said it typically takes five days to get test results, but expects them sooner than later.

"We're 99% sure there's no issues with the water, but we have to do the right thing for public health and safety, make sure the water is tested and approved," he said. "We don't believe that there's been any malfeasance or anything, but we're just doing this out of an abundance of caution."

The State Water Resources Control Board along with the Ventura County Environmental Department, and the city of Santa Paula are advising residents to use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, washing dishes, making ice, food preparation and bathing until further notice.

A help center has been set up at the Water Treatment Plant located at 532 Main St. - behind the Community Center - where a supply of potable water will be available.

Residents can stop by and collect water on Tuesday from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and Wednesday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.