Water Tests Find Little Oil and Gas Pollution from Flood Damage

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Colorado Floods, September 2013. (Photo: KCFR News)

State water quality officials say the massive flooding along the front range and eastern plains last month likely caused tens of millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage to escape into waterways. Engineers have been testing the South Platte River and its tributaries since the flooding subsided.

Steve Gunderson is Director of the Water Quality Control Division with the State Department of Public Health and Environment. He says it’s not surprising they found elevated levels of E. coli bacteria that can make people sick. The highest concentrations were found in the Boulder Creek and Big Thompson River watersheds. But Gunderson says he doesn’t believe there’s new contamination from overwhelmed sewage treatment facilities in communities that got hit particularly hard by the flooding.