Tap water cleared for drinking in South Routt town of Phippsburg | SteamboatToday.com

Tap water cleared for drinking in South Routt town of Phippsburg

— The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment rescinded late Christmas Eve the boil water advisory for the 120 households in the South Routt community of Phippsburg after the Routt County Department of Environmental Health submitted five bacteriological samples that came back negative for harmful coliform bacteria.

The news that it was safe to drink tap water in Phippsburg again was relayed by a reverse 911 call.

The affected households received hand-delivered notices Dec. 23 when unseasonably high turbidity levels in the town's water system were detected. Cloudy water itself is not in and of itself unhealthy, Routt County Director of Environmental Health Mike Zopf said, but the turbid water sometimes can contain harmful microbes.

CDPHE Lead Drinking Water Engineer Tyson Ingels thanked Zopf and his associates for their prompt response to the situation on Christmas Eve. They included system operator Scott Smith and consulting engineer Mary Andre, of Civil Design Consultants in Steamboat Springs.

"As a precaution, we have changed out the bag filters in the system and flushed approximately 10,000 gallons (of water) from the system," the associates wrote to Ingels.

However, because of sub-freezing nighttime temperatures Dec. 23, they did not flush hydrants because of the unsafe driving conditions the excess water likely would have caused, Zopf said.

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Zopf informed Ingels that although he could not prove it, he suspected a "bubble" in the water system or a malfunction in a turbidmeter was the likely cause of the report of water turbidity that exceeded norms.

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