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Colorado Floods Prompt Water Concerns, Advisories

Erin O'Toole

County officials are telling people to avoid floodwaters, which may be contaminated with sewage and contain unseen hazards such as nails. Some communities in Boulder and Weld counties, including Lyons, Firestone and Frederick, are under boil water advisories.

East of Greeley, the water treatment plant in the city of Evans stopped working -- and flood waters are keeping workers from finding and fixing the problem.

Evans’ Director of Public Works Fred Starr says the plant remains unusable and a no-flush order is in effect – which also means no showering, laundry or dishwashing. He says there are options for people to keep clean without water from showers going into the system.

"Go get baby wipes -- as crazy as that sounds," Starr said. "All we’re asking is people that use water don’t put it down the sewer system. Bathroom water, shower water, laundry water, sink water. That’s what’s going in and impacting my system now."

The city has brought in portable toilets for residents to use. Here is a map of where they’re located [.pdf].

Following is a partial list of some water advisories and restrictions as of 10:45 a.m. Monday, Sept. 16. Residents should check with their local utilities.

Boulder County: Residents are being asked to avoid ‘discretionary’ water use inside, including laundry. A boil water order is in effect for residents served by theLeft Hand Water District.

Longmont: There is no boil order for City of Longmont Water customers.

Greeley: No restrictions at this time.

Evans: Authorities say the drinking water is safe, but some residents are being asked not to flush toilets, take showers, do laundry or wash dishes.

According to their website, the no-flush order affects residents within Evans city limits, as well as parts of unincorporated Weld County east of 35th Avenue and north of the South Platte River. The area includes the Hunter’s Reserve and Carriage Estates subdivisions.

Estes Park: Although there are water outages in some areas, an earlier boil water advisory was lifted Saturday. Officials established a large no-flush zone in a southern section of the townuntil further notice. According to a post on Channel 7’s website, sewer lines on both sides of St. Vrain Ave. are draining directly into the watershed. Sanitation officials are asking residents and businesses in the area to limit flushing toilets as much as possible.

Firestone: Under a boil water advisory (as of Saturday afternoon); also under a mandatory water conservation and restriction order (as of Friday night).

Frederick: Undera boil water advisory.

LaSalle: Under a no sewer usage/no flush restriction until further notice. According to the town’s website, officials will evaluate the sewer lagoon Monday, and possibly make repairs.

Sterling: The city and outlying subdivisionsthat are on the city’s sanitary sewer system are under a no-flush order and requested to limit water usage until further notice.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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