Report: Lyons residents likely can't return home for 2-6 months; E. coli contaminates drinking water

Flood damaged roads, bridges, water-sewer systems

LONGMONT, Colo. - Lyons's flood-ravaged infrastructure will likely keep residents from moving home for two to six months and the town's E. coli-contaminated water is unsafe to drink, according to the Longmont Times-Call.

That's the grim message Lyons officials gave to hundreds of townspeople crammed into the Longmont city council chambers on Thursday night.

The town of 2,000 was devastated when storms turned St. Vrain Creek -- which cuts through Lyons -- into a raging river, damaging  homes, roadways, bridges along with water and sewer systems. The town was cut off by flood waters for days until Colorado National Guard troopers rescued residents with high trucks able to ride through the water.

Town administrator Victoria Simonsen told the crowd that E. coli bacteria has made the town's water unsafe to drink, water lines have been compromised in several places, and it would take at least $1 million to get the wastewater plant working temporarily, according to the Times-Call.

Access to the town was a key concern of residents.

Boulder County Sheriff's deputy Nick Goldberger and Simonsen said the evacuation is not mandatory and that residents can choose to stay in their homes if they feel comfortable and are self-sustained, the newspaper reported.

"This is not a mandatory evacuation, but it is a health concern if you stay there and we wish you would leave," Goldberger said. "You're all adults, and you'll make your own decisions."

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