Wattenberg residents unable to drink water because of high Nitrates

WATTENBERG, Colo. — Residents of Wattenberg in south western Weld County were left without safe water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation after elevated levels of Nitrates were detected in the water system, according to a release from Weld County.

After hearing of the issue in Wattenberg on April 7, Weld County commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer asked the Department of Public Health and Environment to have drinking water transported to the residents.

“As soon as we heard about the situation in Wattenberg, we took steps to get safe drinking water out to the residents,” said Kirkmeyer. “This is no different than anything else Weld County would do for any of its residents in a time of crisis. This is no different than assisting in a flood or tornado. This was the right thing to do.”

A water trailer, capable of holding 6,000 gallons of water, was rented to transport the safe water.

The county anticipated paying $1,200 weekly rental fees in addition to other associated expenses. However, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation offered to cover the cost.

Days after detecting the elevated Nitrates levels, residents of Wattenberg had safe drinking water due to the efforts of Weld County Commissioners, DPHE and Anadarko.

Wattenberg Improvement Association water plant operator Wayne Ramey said it could take up to four weeks for the association to provide safe drinking water again — though he expressed hope it would be available sooner.

Ramey said failed membranes in the plant resulted in the elevated Nitrates levels. He added that the failed membranes have been removed and sent to California for testing.