Updated April 1, 2009 at midnight
For updates and information about Yampa's drinking water, call Yampa Town Hall at 638-4511. For elementary school updates, call the South Routt School District at 736-2313. Call the Environmental Protection Agency's safe drinking water hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
Steamboat Springs Yampa residents should use bottled water for drinking, food preparation and other uses after the town's main water line broke Monday night.
Jason Striker, a specialist with the Routt County Department of Environmental Health, said a break in the town's main water line was discovered at about 11:15 p.m. Monday. Striker said he does not "believe that there was any risk that people may have drank contaminated water," but because health and public works officials are flushing and disinfecting the system, town residents should use bottled water for most uses, including washing dishes, making ice and brushing teeth, until further notice.
Bottled water is available at Yampa Town Hall, 56 Lincoln St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Thursday.
Officials who knew the cause of the water line break did not immediately return phone messages Tuesday afternoon.
South Routt Elementary School in Yampa is closed Wednesday and Thursday as a result of the water issue. Superintendent Scott Mader said he learned about the pipe break at about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday when at least one bus was already en route and plans for the school day were already in motion. The district brought in six portable toilets, he said, and water jugs purchased from Montgomery's General Merchandise.
"I think the (elementary school) staff responded very well and took care of the kids," said Mader, who added that he had no reports of children adversely affected by the situation.
The school's food is prepared at Soroco High School and was not in danger of contamination, South Routt School Board President Tim Corrigan said.
Nora Phillips, assistant clerk and deputy treasurer at Yampa Town Hall, said officials hope to have the system back up and running by Thursday morning. That timeline is not yet definite, Striker warned.
Striker added that town residents will have some water pressure in their homes - enough to flush toilets, for example - but should not consume the water. Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting the water stand will not reduce possible contaminant levels, Striker wrote in a water advisory. He emphasized that water should not be given to infants.
The water may contain bacteria or other disease-causing organisms that could cause short-term effects such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and headaches, the advisory stated. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should seek medical advice, he said.
Striker said Tuesday afternoon that he had not received any calls from people experiencing symptoms.
At Town Hall, Phillips said phone calls had mostly been from people reporting a lack of water pressure at their home.
For updates and information about Yampa's drinking water, call Yampa Town Hall at 638-4511.