Boulder County roads, bridges in 'desperate shape;' damaged pipe creating waste water issue for city

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. - As search and rescue operations continue in Boulder County, city officials are taking advantage of dry weather to assess damage after days of torrential rain.

Roads and bridges are in "desperate shape," said Cindy Domenico, with the Board of County Commissioners, at a press conference Saturday morning.

Though some will be clear within a day or two, Domenico says it will be months before others are passable.

Sarah Huntley, Boulder city spokeswoman, says the number one priority Saturday is to try to resolve what crews believe is a breach at the waste water treatment facility.

Near 61st and Niwot, approximately 300 feet of pipe sustained damage.  Huntley describes the line as significant because it handles about 90 percent waste water flow for the city of Boulder and it flows into Lafayette.

Huntley says there is no immediate threat to drinking water for Boulder or Lafayette but residents are being asked to limit discretionary water usage that would contribute to waste until the damage is repaired.

Boulder County also reports water is safe to drink in Gunbarrel, the City of Longmont, Eldorado Springs, and the Town of Erie.

Anyone within the Left Hand Water district, however, is advised to boil water. People within that district would pay their bills to that district.

Boulder Mayor Matt Applebaum says city officials have long known Boulder is the most likely location in Colorado at risk of a disastrous flood, but says it is "difficult to plan for something of this magnitude" that goes on for days.

Sheriff Joe Pelle emphasized the importance of residents staying out of the mountains.

"That would be dumb, and it would also be very selfish," said Pelle.

About 50 people remained in Jamestown Friday despite evacuation recommendations. Law enforcement personnel will urge them again Saturday to evacuate, said Pelle, because it is unclear how long the roads will remain closed.

"If they pass on (help) today, we may not be able to come back tomorrow," said Pelle.

As of 9 a.m. Pelle said a narrow passage is allowing emergency vehicles into Boulder Canyon and Sunshine Canyon is the only access to Nederland, though it is open only to emergency vehicles.

"If someone in the peak-to-peak area calls 911, we are not going to be able to help them," said Pelle.  "That's a very difficult position as a sheriff, as a government official."

For an updated list of Boulder County road closures, visit

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