Fountain Creek Sewage Leak: Water Tests Negative For E. Coli

Good news for people who get their drinking water from Fountain Creek: tests came back negative for E. coli.

Health officials were worried the creek had been contaminated after
660,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the creek earlier this week.

"Wastewater operators identified a low flow at the lift station," Woodland Park Utilities Director Kip Wiley explained to 11 News reporter Dustin Cuzick. "As soon as they identified the low flow, we went out looking for it."

Wiley said rocks and roots were clogging a sewer magnet, which in turn caused a backup. The backed up sewage leaked out of a manhole and through the creek.

Utility workers discovered the leak Monday. Tuesday, health officials were testing the water in Manitou Springs. The fear was that the sewage made its way into underground water, which could carry it to communities further downstream.

"We're just grabbing some water samples...so we can kind of get a handle on what may have come downstream," said Aaron Doussett with the El Paso County health department. "Nobody's taking any kind of action right now because we're just trying to assess."

Meanwhile, worried residents started stocking up on bottled water.

"My first concern is my well, which is only 30 feet deep, so my water comes from Fountain Creek," Richard Knoll said.

Jessyca Carroll also expressed concern for the wildlife.

"It feeds a lot of local wildlife, so I can't imagine how impactful that would be."

But good news for Knoll, Carroll and others who drink water out of Fountain Creek: Woodland Park Utilities says because the test results were negative, it's safe for people to drink water from their wells.