Updated June 24, 2012 at 11:18 p.m.
Phippsburg residents now can safely consume their tap water without boiling it.
Routt County Environmental Health Director Mike Zopf said Sunday that the drinking water was thoroughly tested for 24 hours Saturday through Sunday, and the water showed no signs of contamination following Thursday’s pump failure.
“As of (Sunday afternoon), we are considered to be in full compliance with the state’s safe drinking water regulations,” Zopf said. “The water is safe to drink without boiling.”
After the water system was super-chlorinated and flushed, five samples were taken Saturday and allowed to sit for 24 hours in the Environmental Health Department’s water-testing lab. Zopf said no bacteria was detected at the end of the test Sunday.
He said a reverse 911 call was used Sunday to inform residents that the water is safe to drink. He added that notices would be posted in the town today, but residents are being asked to inform their neighbors who do not have landlines.
“I know it’s really hot outside, and they want to know their drinking water is safe,” he said. “I always thought it was, and we proved it now.”
He said Thursday’s news that the South Routt town’s water system had failed was “one of the worst” calls a county’s health department can field.
On Friday, he said that a voltage issue appears to be the cause of the water pump failure. 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.
Until Sunday afternoon, residents were advised to boil their water, and 1,000 bottles of water were delivered to Phippsburg’s Post Office as a backup.
Zopf doubted any tap water had been contaminated by the pump failure, but health regulations required the water tests to be completed before lifting the boiling water advisory.
Now that the water is safe to drink, Zopf said the challenge is to make sure the water system continues to run.
“There’s still a significant amount of work that needs to be done,” he said, noting he plans to replace two motors in the system and look further into any potential electricity issues. “We need to find out how we can ensure this is not going to happen again.”
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com