Water district officials say Vail tap water totally safe after truck crash, hazardous substance spill on Vail Pass

By Real Vail
October 31, 2011
Vail tap water is, and always was, safe to drink and use as normal. A truck crash on Vail pass spilled hazardous material heading towards Black Gore Creek, but the hazardous substance never affected the public water system.

Eagle River Water & Sanitation District shut down its river intakes in Vail upon being notified of the spill, per its standard operating procedures pertaining to potential spills in local waterways. These precautions help to ensure the safety of the Vail public water system even while responders worked to determine whether any hazardous material reached local waterways.

Due to a miscommunication, a public message was sent via the incident response team on site that incorrectly advised people to “not use tap water at this time.” The message was reportedly meant to focus on the affect to local rivers and streams.

“When people received that alert, they were rightly alarmed,” said Water Division Manager Todd Fessenden. “Unfortunately, the information was incorrect. Public health and the safety of our water supply is our primary concern. The safety of Vail tap's water was never in question.”

Eagle River Water & Sanitation District was not involved in the warning message, but quickly acted to correct it, and a second alert was sent to clarify the circumstance. There is no cause for public concern about the status of Vail's drinking water.

It is unclear whether any of the hazardous material made it to local waterways, but the District will continue to operate as though it did. Samples from Black Gore Creek and Gore Creek will be tested until it is verified that no contamination is present.

For more information, contact Eagle River Water & Sanitation District at 970-477-5451 or go to www.erwsd.org.

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