Well and Waste Water Resources Post Fire
If you or someone you know was impacted by the fire review the resources below:
Your well could be adversely affected by the fire, power outages, equipment failure from fire damage, or contamination from sewer systems due to loss of water pressure in water distribution systems. Be prepared, and have plenty of bottled water available for drinking and cooking when you return home. When you first return, complete a visual inspection of the system, looking for fire impact to the immediate area surrounding your wellhead. Please see this Fire Damaged Well Protection memo from the Division of Natural Resources for information on inspecting and protecting your wellhead. Damage to electrical wires, controls, pipes, tanks, and other components may affect system operation as well as compromise the safety of the water supply, or affect the proper disposal of wastewater. If the outside of your home or the yard area near your well has burned, you should have a licensed well technician inspect the system. The pump may be functioning; however, burned wires not visible from the surface could result in problems with the pump. Review this guidance from CSU Extension for more detailed information.
Wells serving the public at commercial or retail food facilities should contact their certified well operator prior to using or serving water.
Click here for additional information from the CDC.
The Three Lakes Water and Sanitation District (TLWSD) 970-627-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org can test well water for bacteria to make sure that the boil order can be lifted. Some water supplies affected by fire damage which may have melted system components, severely affected surface soils, or introduced chemicals may need additional testing (please read to the end of section). If your wellhead is damaged, please see the section above on Wells.
For coliform samples, follow the instructions provided with the sample bottle carefully and do not rinse out the bottle. Collect a cold water sample with clean hands or gloves from a non-aerated, non-swivel faucet after flushing the system for 1 minute. Samples cannot exceed hold times or they will be invalid. Samples don’t have to be refrigerated.
Sample results from TLWSD will be mailed, but the lab will also call if the sample contains bacteria. District phones are still down, but you may direct questions about that program to email@example.com.
Coliform bacteria sample collection bottles for overnight mailing or in-person delivery to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Lab in Denver may also be picked up in the Community Development Department, on the west end, lower level of the county administration building at 308 Byers Avenue in Hot Sulphur Springs.
If you believe you need additional water testing due to fire damage, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Lab has provided the following four steps to get your water tested:
1. Determine your testing needs (you can contact Grand County’s Water Quality Specialist, Katherine Morris, at 970 725 3058 or the CDPHE chemistry lab for help with this at (303) 692-3048
2. Order sampling bottles
3. Collect the sample and fill out Chain of Custody (COC)
4. Deliver payment and samples to lab for testing
5. Get your results in up to 28 days or in 14 business days (if rush payment is selected). Fire recovery samples may be processed on an expedited schedule.
Waste Water Information:
- Water Users and Property Owners Impacted by Wildland Fire
- CDPHE Guidance for Property Owners Impacted by Wildfires with Homes Served by Wells and Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems
- CDPHE Guidance for What to do When Your Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Experiences a Power Outage
- National Association of Wastewater Technicians (NAWT)
- National On-site Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA)
- Colorado Professionals in On-site Wastewater (CPOW)
- After The Flames - A valuable post-fire recovery and restoration information for Homeowners & Residents, Community & Small Business.