Water Restrictions Slowly Being Lifted In Alamosa

By: Rosie Barresi Email
By: Rosie Barresi Email

For more than a week, Alamosa families have been living out of bottles. But city officials are slowly allowing residents to use their water again.

The bacteria salmonella mysteriously found in the city's water supply is responsible for more than 300 illnesses and a dozen hospitalizations.

Last Tuesday officials flushed the system with chlorine levels equal to twice what is found in a swimming pool rendering the tap useless.

Now city officials are tapering off those levels.

Monday, city officials announced they are half way done cleaning out the system.

Folks can use the water for limited tasks after running all their faucets for about five minutes.

Kids in Alamosa also hit the books on Monday for the first time in nearly a week.

After a four day stint away, the Alamosa superintendent said it was finally time.

"We are back to normal," said Henry Herrera.

With the exception of one thing: "You want to go by the water fountain but you can't," said Mary Hood, a fourth grader at Evans Elementary.

The water fountains in the schools are sealed, still strictly prohibited.

"We are going the extra mile to ensure their safety," said Herrera.

Students are okay with that. "I really don't want salmonella," said Robbie Alejo, a fourth grader at Evans Elementary.

The kids also say they appreciate water more.

"You never thought how much you use it," said Hood.

The people in Alamosa, right now are allowed to take showers but local officials say they should be quick. They also say the water should be luke warm and not hot.

People are also allowed to flush their toilets and wash their laundry but folks should still not use tap water to brush their teeth.

The Comfort Inn in Alamosa has its own private well. While showering was off limits for residents, more than 1,000 people were allowed to shower there for free.

As for the investigation into how salmonella infested the water supply, that's still ongoing.

Greg Rajnowski, a public health officer said, "It is very difficult to pin down what an actual cause would be and it's entirely likely we may never have a cause."

The salmonella outbreak has cost the city $469,000.

A new multi-million dollar treatment system will be ready by June.

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