No homes and contaminated water could be the reality for Black Forest Fire victims like Jeffery Schickler, whose home burned down and his water well was damaged.
“It is still a little soft in my heart. We are going to wait another week or two and start dealing with it after that,” said Schickler.
A water well is like a straw that sucks up water from the ground --water people drink. Damaged or burned wells can leave the aquifer exposed to contamination. People with damaged water wells in the burn zone can use a plastic bag to help avoid water contamination. The plastic bag should be sturdy and taped down around the well until it can be fixed.
El Paso County has decided to wait to test the aquifer until it can consult with the state.
“I don't want to start testing but maybe it is the wrong parameter. We want to drill down what are the concerns coming from the fire,” said Tom Gonzales with the El Paso County Health Department.
In the meantime, the county is conducting free water tests.
Amanda Davis is a volunteer who has been helping fire victims. She is thankful for the free tests, but said its sad El Paso County is making fire victims drive into Colorado Springs to get the test kits.
“It would be nice if they would bring it out here where the people are. If people are sifting through their lives trying to find the things to rebuild, why do they have to go chase down the things to rebuild?” said Davis.
Anyone in Black Forest can get their water tested. Kits are available for pick up at the El Paso County Citizen Services Center Monday through Friday. The drop off for testing is Monday through Thursday.