Sampling reveals no pollutants in water due to oil spills; high levels of E. coli
DENVER — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Tuesday that recent results of samples taken from flood-affected rivers and streams show no pollutants associated with oil and gas spills.
The department took samples on Sept. 26 from 29 sights in eight different rivers affected by the flood. However, some sample results did uncover high levels of E. coli in some areas of the South Platte Basin. The highest concentrations of E. coli were sampled in the Boulder Creek, and the Big Thompson River watersheds, according to department officials.
“Although much attention was focused on spills from oil and gas operations, it is reassuring the sampling shows no evidence of oil and gas pollutants,” Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer at the department said.
Wolk said the elevated E. coli levels were expected in some locations.
There are still five public drinking water systems that remain on boil water advisories, including Jamestown, Lyons, Mountain Meadow Water Supply, Lower Narrows Campground and Sylvan Dale Ranch.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also tested for metals that could have been released from mining areas during the flood. Officials say they will release the results once the analysis is complete.
The department is also planning on conducting additional water sampling to determine any changes in pollutant levels.