Yampa’s water service restored late Tuesday afternoon
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Yampa residents and businesses continued to deal with water issues Tuesday while they awaited test results to confirm the water supply was safe to drink.
Beginning Saturday evening, the town went more than 36 hours without any water at all.
When the pipes filled back up around the middle of the day Monday, residents were advised not to drink the water until bacteria test results came back and only use water for flushing. Bottled water was made available at Yampa Town Hall.
But then at around 11 a.m. Tuesday, the taps again ran dry, and residents were notified there had been a line break and crews were working to fix it.
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At about 2 p.m., the water came back.
At 5:20 p.m., Routt County sent out an alert announcing Yampa’s water service had been restored.
“Results of water test indicate that while water may be milky due to air in the lines, the water is safe to drink,” the alert stated.
The problems initially stemmed from a faulty valve, according to Town Clerk Janet Ray.
It was unclear how the issue related to the massive project currently underway to replace Yampa’s transmission line from the water treatment plant into town.
South Routt Elementary School was closed Monday but reopened Tuesday. When the water went off again on Tuesday, the school bused the kids to the middle school in South Routt for the rest of the day.
At Penny’s Diner and the adjoining Travelodge motel, business was significantly impacted.
The 24-hour diner was closed Sunday and Monday, and guests with reservations at the motel were offered discounted rooms but without water.
The diner did not open on Tuesday until the bacteria test results came back negative. The restaurant had to cut staff and operated on a skeleton crew.
The prolonged interruption in service came during one of Yampa’s busiest times of the year — second rifle season.
It is peak season for Van Camp Cabins, where owner Susan Rygh hosts many repeat guests who stay for an extended period. She also is one of the few, if only, places in the area that offers public showers to hunters. And Rygh said she had to turn away many a cold hunter hoping for a hot shower.
But Rygh took the ordeal in stride. She filled up 5-gallon buckets in the nearby creek to flush toilets because, well, “You know men.”
And she filled all her camping containers, so her guests had water for drinking and brushing teeth.
“Pretend it’s Mexico,” she said, and don’t brush your teeth in the shower.
It was a lot of extra work for her in terms of hauling water for 20 people, not being able to do laundry on site and a “a little financial bite” without the showers, but Rygh was grateful for the loyalty of her guests, most traveling from out of state.
Rygh didn’t have any cancellations, unlike the Travelodge, where on Tuesday, they only had about five of 37 rooms filled during a normally busy time.
In other South Routt utility news, Yampa Valley Electric Association will be cutting off power from Routt County Road 14 to Stage Bridge on Thursday night and Friday morning from midnight to 6 a.m. in order to replace equipment.
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