Safe water expected Sunday afternoon in Phippsburg

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— Phippsburg residents and businesses likely will receive word Sunday afternoon that the tap water is safe to drink, pending the results of tests being conducted Saturday.

Mike Zopf, director of Routt County’s Department of Environmental Health, confirmed Saturday afternoon that the town’s 50,000-gallon water storage tank had been refilled after crews successfully replaced the two water pumps that failed Thursday afternoon and shut down Phippsburg’s municipal water supply.

The Steamboat Today reported Friday that once the testing is complete and the results are certified by the state, the system must be emptied and refilled again, but Zopf clarified Saturday that the final steps of draining and refilling the tank are not necessary and said results are expected Sunday afternoon after five water samples have been examined during at 24-hour test.

“The system has resumed operating under normal chlorine conditions,” Zopf said Saturday from the laboratory where the water was being tested. “At this point, (residents) can boil the water or take showers but consuming the water is not advised until we have the results from these tests.”

For instructions on boiling water for consumptive use, click here.

Bottled water is being made available for Phippsburg residents at the post office, Zopf said. He said the supply of bottled water will be restocked Saturday and possibly Sunday, as needed.

Zopf said a voltage issue appears to be the cause of the pump failure. He said Yampa Valley Electric Association crews replaced a fuse Friday, and two new pumps were purchased and installed by B & J Pump & Well Service after Zopf picked up the pumps in Kremmling late Friday morning.

The pumps were installed and operating by about 4 p.m. Friday and were quickly pumping 100 gallons of water per minute back into the town’s water system.

The county used a reverse 911 call Thursday afternoon to alert Phippsburg residents to the water outage, but because many people no longer use landlines, it was difficult to reach everyone, Zopf said.

Zopf said officials circulated a public notice Friday afternoon updating residents about the situation and providing instructions on how to properly boil water for consumptive use. Another notice will be distributed door to door once the water is again safe to drink.

Phippsburg’s well field is east of town across the Yampa River on property owned by the Iacovettos. Zopf said the well is 20 feet deep and is fed by horizontal arms that collect water and pipe it to the gallery. The water is then pumped to a nearby treatment facility and then up to the town’s water storage tank, which uses gravity to deliver the treated water to the 120 residential and commercial taps that rely on the system.

The Phippsburg Water and Sanitation District is an enterprise fund operated by Routt County. It is overseen by the Routt County Board of Commissioners and Zopf. The water and sanitation district is managed by Scott Smith.

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