People in Hot Sulphur Springs told to keep boiling their water
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Hot Sulphur Springs residents are asked to continue boiling their drinking water as the town struggles to solve the problems with its water system.
Today, April 10, the town will perform the first of two “flushings” of Hot Sulphur Springs’ water lines.
“We will be sending highly chlorinated water through the lines to flush and disinfect them,” said Darin Foran, Hot Sulphur’s mayor pro tem. “The second flushing of the lines will take place next week. We’ll probably be under the water restrictions for another week or maybe longer.”
On Monday, the Colorado Department of Health issued an order for residents to boil their drinking and cooking water. The order was issued due to a water filtration system failure at the Hot Sulphur Springs water plant.
The Colorado Department of Health’s order was based upon the turbidity (cloudiness) of the water at the town’s water filtration plant, which had reached high levels on Monday morning.
The normal turbidity level of the water being filtered at the town’s plant is 0.2. However, a water sample taken Monday morning showed levels of 3.65, which is above the maximum safety limit of 1 turbidity unit.
“When that level was reached, the water was discharged back into the Colorado River and never entered the town’s water distribution system,” Foran said.
The problem at the Hot Sulphur Springs water plant has been corrected with turbidity levels of the water now at “acceptable levels,” Foran said. However, officials believe the buried pipelines that deliver the water to homes and businesses within the town have “possible contaminates,” which is the reason for their flushing.
To accomplish today’s flushing of the lines, highly chlorinated water has been pumped uphill from the water plant to the town’s water storage tank. The flushing will be accomplished by contractors opening all 40 of Hot Sulphur’s fire hydrants one at a time. The water in the tank will then flow through the lines and be expelled onto the streets.
“We have to be able to measure a 3.5 chlorinated level in the lines to show that they have been purified,” Foran said. “If they don’t reach that level after the second flushing, we might have to do it a third time.”
While the flushings are taking place, Foran said residents can still use tap water as long as they follow the instructions of the Department of Health’s order. It requires all drinking and cooking water to be boiled for at least one minute before use. For showering, washing hands and clothing, and flushing toilets, water can be used straight from the tap.
For more information about the water restrictions, call the Hot Sulphur Springs Town Hall at 725-3932.
In attempting to deal with this water problem, the town is working in conjunction with the Grand County Office of Emergency Management, Grand County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Health.
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A report released this month by the Center for Colorado River Studies says that in order to sustainably manage the river in the face of climate change, officials need alternative management paradigms and a different way of thinking compared with the status quo. Estimates about how much water the Upper Colorado River Basin states will use in the future are a problem that needs rethinking, according to the white paper.