County declares local emergency, contamination alert

Deede Will, left, helped out a neighbor secure a fence as they prepared to move some cattle out of the water last week. Photo by Nick Lovejoy

San Benito County declared a local emergency and water contamination alert related to recent flooding on Thursday afternoon.

The county director of emergency services issued a proclamation of a local emergency, which found conditions to be “of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property” that included the following:

Flooding in parts of the county due to heavy rainfall.

Potential health concern to residents of the flood-affected area due to possible contaminated water.

Damage and potential damage to county-owned infrastructure including bridges and roads.

Conditions in various county creeks and rivers may require emergency flood fight activities and repairs.

“WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 833 of the County of San Benito empowers the Director of Emergency Services (County Administrative Officer) of the County of San Benito to proclaim the existence or threatened existence of a local emergency when said County is affected or likely to be affected by a public calamity and when the Board of Supervisors is not in session,” reads the proclamation.

It goes on to state a request for a State of Emergency for the county.

“WHEREAS, the effects of the storm are beyond the capabilities of the County of San Benito therefore the County is requesting that the Governor of the State of California Proclaim a State of Emergency for the County of San Benito and requests assistant (sic) including but not limited to California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA), Federal Individual Assistance Act, and US Small Business Administration disaster declaration.”
The proclamation is signed by Deputy Director of Emergency Services Kevin O’Neill and Acting Assistant County Counsel Barbara Thompson.

In addition to the proclamation, county officials released a water contamination health alert. The county is recommending homes residing within Lovers Lane, Frye Lane and San Felipe Road to Shore Road have the potential for contaminants to exist in individual well water systems. Contaminants could include sewage runoff, agricultural runoff, pesticides and other hazardous materials, the alert says.

The document advises the following:

“Do Not Use: Water is unsafe for any purpose. Use alternative water source.

“Do Not Drink: Use alternative water sources, such as bottled water, for drinking, food preparation, washing clothes, brushing teeth, or making ice.

“Do Not Wash with this water: Water is not safe for bathing or washing clothes
“Do not let pets or livestock drink this water.

“Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not eliminate contamination.”

The water alert states that water is being made available for all residents in the listed areas initially through door-to-door delivery. Further water will be available at the Dunneville Cafe and Market (5970 San Felipe Road) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For additional information about directives in this alert or drinking water contaminants please call the Environmental Health Department at (831) 636-4035 during normal business hours or (831) 636-4100 after business hours.

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