Clifton Water tells customers of violation from July

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CLIFTON, Colo. (KKCO) -- Some Clifton water residents are fired up after getting notices that tell them the Clifton Water District violated a drinking water standard.

Clifton Water said you don't have to boil your water or do anything to fix the problem because the violation happened back in July, meaning the problem has long since been fixed. But for Clifton residents, the notice still comes as a scare.

"I got it like mid- October, and at first I was like 'What is this?' and just kind of glanced at it," Clifton resident Emerald Martz said.

After a closer look, Martz said she wasn't happy.

"They're just telling you and letting you know, but then they are telling you it was already fixed, but they didn't even let you know it was contaminated to start with. They're just like 'by the way we fixed it,'” she said.

The problem was that the Pine Ridge fire back in July made some drinking water untreatable, causing Clifton Water to switch their taps to Ute Water for about a week. But the two companies use different disinfectants in their water, and the two chemicals basically cancelled each other out, making the chlorine level drop below acceptable levels.

"We'd see a low chlorine at 8 o'clock in the morning, then it'd be fine through the day. Then all of a sudden at 4 in the morning, we would see another low chlorine level, so we were on it. We were climbing the tanks in the middle of the night," Clifton Water District Manager Dale Tooker said.

Tooker said even though they fixed the problem right away back in July, the company still wants to keep its customers informed.

"It's a very transparent type of a situation. Nobody is trying to shove it underneath the carpet, and everybody needed to identify that the situation did happen," Tooker said.

Tooker also said Clifton Water District told the health department about the problem the day they found out and didn't hear back from health officials again until the middle of September, which is why the letters are just now going out to customers.

Customers said they would have still liked to know sooner.

"The health department aren't the only people drinking the water. It's the residents that are at risk that are drinking the water. Why wouldn't you let us know?" Sherry Preston said.

Clifton Water said the situation wasn't an emergency and the violation was not severe, but if it had been, customers would have been notified immediately.

Tests were done on the water during the violation period and no bacteria was found. Officials said they think the water that was low in chlorine may have just been in the backup tanks, and may not have even gone out to any customers.

The company said that the letters were only meant to inform their customers and that all water is up to code at this time.

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