'Avoid contact with potentially contaminated flood waters,' state health department urges

Oil & gas wells have been shut off, companies say

DENVER - Because flood water could contain sewage or any number of unidentified chemicals, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is urging everyone to avoid contact with the water.

CDPHE warns the waters could contain chemicals washed away from flooded homes, businesses or industrial sites.

"If people must be in contact with floodwaters, they should wash frequently with warm water and soap," CDPHE Spokesman Mark Salley wrote.

Estes Park, Evans, LaSalle and Sterling are all asking residents to avoid flushing toilets or otherwise adding to the problems with wastewater systems in those areas.

Hundreds of oil and natural gas wells have been affected by the flooding, and CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia is in contact with state regulators to find out if any pose a potential danger.

Anadarko reports that company has shut down approximately 600 wells within the Wattenberg field of Northeastern Colorado. PDC Energy, Inc. operates approximately 2,300 vertical and 80 horizontal wells in the same area and says they've also suspended production in the flood-affected areas.

CDPHE says they are working with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, "local authorities and operators to assess risks and, where necessary, provide environmental response and remediation."

Salley said so far there's been no need for a response at any oil or natural gas site.

The state is also advising everyone to keep current with vaccinations, although none are specifically important for this situation.

"By staying up to date with vaccinations, everyone is better prepared for emergencies," Salley wrote.