Biden defends government's response to Maui wildfire disaster
President Biden urged the residents of Maui to try and understand that the federal government's work is "going to take time."LEARN MORE
It will take time to thoroughly test the water in areas that were badly burned by the fire. Officials say fully restoring service could take years.
Residents of Maui are dealing with a new problem as they recover from the deadly wildfire there: They can't be sure if their water is safe to drink.
On Aug. 11, officials warned residents in Upper Kula and Lahaina to avoid using their water supplies.
Later that month the County of Maui published a map to show where unsafe water advisories were in effect.
Some residents, however, still don't have reliable internet access to check the map.
Tests so far haven't shown any concerning levels of contamination in the water supply, but that may change as testing covers more areas, especially places where infrastructure connected to the water system was badly burned by the fire.
Doing more thorough testing will also take time, because of the hazardous conditions in the burn area and the need to continue searching for human remains.
Officials say it could still take weeks to verify the water in unsafe areas can be used for drinking or bathing. Fully restoring water service to the affected areas on Maui, they say, could take months or years.
In Paradise, California, for example, where the 2018 Camp Fire destroyed nearly the entire city, city workers are still replacing water service lines five years later.
The storm made landfall near Emerald Isle at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday with winds close to 70 mph, later subsiding to 40 mph.
The storm hit New England and Maritime Canada with powerful winds, rough seas, heavy rain, toppling trees, flooding coasts, and cutting power.
The official death toll from the disaster has surpassed 11,000 people and officials fear that number will climb quickly in the coming days.
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