Yampa schools, businesses close after water runs out
YAMPA — The town of Yampa spent the weekend without water after it went from low pressure Saturday evening to entirely out by 9:30 p.m. The water stayed off all day Sunday and until approximately midday on Monday.
Residents received a notice Monday morning that stated, “The valve problem has been fixed, and water will be in the system soon; however, the lines throughout town will need flushed, so it will still be some time before the water is tested and deemed safe to drink. In the meantime, you will be able to flush toilets.”
On Sunday, the South Routt Elementary School and Soroco Preschool announced they would be closed Monday.
Several businesses also closed Sunday and Monday due to the lack of water and, then, the lack of safe water. One resident pointed out it was not only inconvenient to be without water entirely for more than 36 hours but also a safety and sanitation issue, especially for the town’s many older residents or those suffering from illness.
The interruption in service comes as the town has a major project underway to replace 75% of the water transmission/distribution line that carries water from the water treatment plant south of town into Yampa.
Town Clerk Janet Ray said they thought a transmission line break caused the outage Saturday night, and they believed they would have enough water in the storage tank to provide water for the town until they could fix it Sunday morning. But that wasn’t the case, she acknowledged.
Then on Sunday, Ray said they determined it was not a break in the line but rather a problem with a valve.
The valve couldn’t be fixed until Monday morning.
Public notices did not go out Saturday or Sunday because it was believed the problem would be quickly fixed, Ray said.
On Sunday, some information was made available online, and notices were posted on doors Monday morning and afternoon. The town does not have a text alert system in place, Ray said.
The transmission line replacement project is scheduled for completion at the end of October or beginning of November.
“Once the replacement is done, it should alleviate all the breaks we seem to have every year or every other year,” Ray said.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, Ray said there was water in the system, and they had taken the tests to determine if there was any harmful bacteria in the water supply, but results would not be available until Tuesday.
Volunteers again went door to door Monday with notices advising residents not to use the water until they receive test results — except to flush toilets.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends boiling water for three minutes to sanitize at elevations higher than 6,500 feet.
The town also advised residents to take screens off of any faucets with screens and flush out their water for 10 minutes following any visible dirt.
Bottled water was made available at Town Hall/Crossan’s Market until 7 p.m. Monday.
To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.
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