Alamosa, Colorado is recovering–and residents can drink the water

The drinking water in Alamosa, Colorado tested positive for giardia, cryptosporidium and salmonella.  All of these “critters” can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and fever.  The elderly, the very young, and people with weak immune systems are especially at danger.

Since March 7, nearly 400 people have come down with salmonella, with 16 being hospitalized.  One of the patients was an infant who had just had heart surgery and nearly died. 

The city used a high-chlorine flush of the pipes to kill these microorganisms.  But in the meantime the 8,500 residents of Alamosa have been under a “do not drink” order from March 19 until April 11.  And during the chlorine flush, bathing, showering or even touching the water was banned due to the high chemical levels.

How did this happen?  The city hasn’t been able to pinpoint the cause. 

Alamosa had one of the few non-disinfected water supplies in the state.  Because their water came from deep, uncontaminated wells, no disinfection was required.  Unfortunately, water pipes can crack and let contaminants enter, water tanks might be susceptible to bird droppings if they aren’t properly sealed, or non-potable water sources can be cross-connected with drinking water pipes in the system.

According to the news reports, Alamosa will be disinfecting their water going forward. 

Until something like this happens in your community, it’s hard to imagine what a true disaster contaminated water can be.  Schools close.  Businesses have to modify their operation or sometimes close their doors. The cost rises geometrically each day.

 Can you imagine not even being able to take a shower for days or weeks?