Phil Tenser, reporting for ABC7 News and TheDenverChannel.com, warned all those affected by the Colorado flooding to stay out of the water. Because flood water can contain sewage, unidentified chemicals, and harmful organisms, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is urging all residents to please avoid contact with the water.
Mark Salley, spokesman for the CDPHE stated that if residents come into contact with floodwater, they should make sure to wash frequently with warm water and soap. According to Tenser, Estes Park, Evans, LaSalle, and Sterling are all behooving residents to avoid flushing their toilets and/or adding to the contamination problems that have arisen with disabled wastewater systems.
CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia is in the process of contacting state regulators to find out if the hundreds of oil and natural gas wells affected by the flooding pose any potential health threat. The Anadarko Petroleum Corporation reports that they have had to shut down about 600 wells within the Wattenberg field of Northeastern Colorado. PDC Energy, Inc. has also suspended production on a portion of their 2,300 vertical and 80 horizontal wells in the same area.
The CDPHE is also working with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to assess risks and, when and wherever necessary, provide “environmental response and remediation.” Fortunately, Salley told ABC7, no responses have been necessary so far for any oil or natural gas site.
If you believe the well in your area has been compromised during this storm, make sure to boil your water before using it. Jane Viste, a spokeswoman for Larimer County’s Department of Health and Environment told CALL7 Investigators that it only takes three minutes to boil if you’re questioning whether it’s contaminated.
Food should also be of concern. According to health officials, if any food has come into contact with flood water, it should be discarded immediately. Food that has been sitting in a refrigerator that may have lost power for an unknowable period of time should also be thrown out. Officials recommend throwing food away even if you think it may still be edible. It’s better to be safe and avoid any risk of illness.
Salley also stated that while there are no specific vaccinations for this historical flood, keeping up to date with them can better prepare anyone for an emergency.
Make sure to consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for all health related advice.
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