Tree Haus residents no longer need to boil drinking water

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— The Yampa River is behaving itself again, and residents of the Tree Haus subdivision learned Friday that there is no longer a need for them to boil their domestic water.

“The river has gone down and so has the turbidity that entered from river water in our infiltration gallery,” Tree Haus Metro District President Jim Kohler said Monday.

The advisory to boil drinking water was issued May 30 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as a precaution against any harmful micro-organisms that might have found their way into the neighborhood water supply. It was signed by the state’s lead drinking water engineer, Tyson Ingels.

At the time, the river, near where it flows past Rotary Park, had been flowing over its banks for days and was within hours of flowing at 4,850 cubic feet per second— its peak for the season. By midafternoon Friday, the river was flowing at 1,650 cfs, just 20 cfs above the median for June 17, and no longer undermined the safety of drinking water for the neighborhood of about 100 homes just outside the city limits of Steamboat Springs.

Kohler said that despite recent improvements to its water plant, Tree Haus is among a number of small metro districts across the state being looked at closely by the Department of Public Health and Environment because of their proximity to major rivers.

Tree Haus was organized as the Tree Haus Water and Sanitation District in 1972 and became a metro district in 1982 when it acquired ownership of its streets. The homes in Tree Haus look directly across the Mount Werner Road interchange of U.S. Highway 40 into the west-facing slopes of Steamboat Ski Area.

The metro district draws its water from a portion of the Yampa River flows, which are out of sight beneath the ground.

On May 30, the Yampa was carrying more silt, particles of vegetation and parking lot runoff than it characteristically does. When that water inundated the Tree Haus infiltration gallery, the number of suspended particles in the water rose significantly, leading to unacceptable levels of turbidity. That also rasied the possibility that harmful micro-organisms were not being filtered out of the water.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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