Wildfires have damaged civil infrastructure throughout wildland urban interface communities, including water distribution systems. Post-wildfire, communities have detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within drinking water systems. This presentation will discuss the correlation between damage within the communities and the presence of these VOCs within the water distribution system in addition to testing that has occurred to examine how different pipe materials influence the concentration of VOCs within the water distribution system. Because testing methods are not standardized, different testing methods were performed to examine the effect of these testing methods. The results from the correlation between community damage and these tests have been used to perform heat transfer analysis so that communities can link the contamination to common infrastructure or wildfire characteristics (e.g. surface heat flux, burn duration, burial depth).
BIO: Erica Fischer, PhD, PE is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University. Dr. Fischer’s research interests revolve around innovative approaches to improve the resilience and robustness of structural systems affected by natural and man-made hazards. She has participated in post-earthquake reconnaissance team missions in diverse regions including Haiti, Napa, California, Italy, and Mexico City; and led post-wildfire reconnaissance after the 2018 Camp Fire and 2021 Marshall Fire. Dr. Fischer has experience as a practicing structural engineer and holds a Professional Engineering license in the states of Washington, California, and Oregon. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.