State: E. coli found in Boulder, other Colo. flood zones

DENVER (AP) — Samples collected in 29 locations in eight rivers in the Colorado flooding zone show high levels of E. coli in the Boulder Creek and Big Thompson River watershed, the state health department said Tuesday.

The testing also showed high levels of E. coli in locations in the South Platte Basin. The highest levels of E. coli were detected in Boulder and near Niwot. But no outbreaks of illness or communicable disease have been reported.

The samples were collected on Sept. 26.

The state is tracking multiple spills from oil and gas operations in the South Platte Basin, but the testing showed no evidence of contamination.

“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,” said Larry Wolk, chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

A broken city of Boulder main allowed raw sewage to pour into Boulder Creek in the days following the worst of the flooding, which began Sept. 11.

Slightly lower levels were detected along Boulder Creek northeast of Boulder, near Erie and near Boulder Creek’s confluence with the St. Vrain.

Elevated levels were detected near the confluence of the St. Vrain and South Platte north of Platteville, east of Milliken near the confluence of the South Platte and Big Thompson, and long the Platte west of Kersey and near Orchard and Brush. Elevated levels also were found on the Big Thompson in two spots between Estes Park and Loveland.

The health department also sampled for metals that may have been released from mining areas, but that analysis is not complete.

Five public drinking water systems remain on boil or bottled water advisories: Jamestown, Lyons, Mountain Meadow Water Supply, Lower Narrows Campground and Sylvan Dale Ranch.

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