The 8,500 citizens of Alamosa, Colorado, are frustrated.
Salmonella has contaminated the city’s water supply, sickening more than 200 people since last week. For everyone else, the inconveniences are immense.
Alamosa — in the heart of the vast San Luis Valley, about 200 miles southwest of Denver — draws its water from deep wells that tap the aquifer directly. Because the drinking water comes straight from the ground, it is not chemically treated.
John Pape, a state epidemiologist, said some residents may have continued to drink tap water after the warnings, adding,
"Just because the government tells you not to do something doesn’t mean you’re not going to do it."
I got a chance to talk about the outbreak this morning on Denver’s #1 for Country, KYGO, with morning show hosts Kelly, Mudflap and JoJo (right, exactly as shown). They found me via barfblog.com.
I said the flushing of the water system was a good idea, but the source of the original contamination needed to be identified so it could be prevented in the future. I also mentioned that the 5,000-strong community of south Galway, Ireland, has been under a boil-water advisory for the past five months after high incidences of Clostridium perfringens were detected in the Clarinbridge public water supply. In follow-up tests, trace levels of cryptosporidium were detected. There have been no reported cases of cryptosporidiosis but the boil-water notice has remained in place ever since.
A thorough investigation into the intricacies of a munincipal water supply becoming contaminated can be found in the Walkerton Commission of Inquiry, held after E. coli O157:H7 got into the water supply of Walkerton, Ontario in 2000, sickening half the town of 5,000 and killing seven.