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Bugs in Gardner water

by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG— Total Coliform bacteria has been found in two samples out of the five that were taken from the Gardner Water and Sanitation District in October 2011. According to a letter to the district from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the standard for coliform bacteria contamination is one sample per month, before a notice of violation is sent to a water district.
However a boil order has not been issued and the water is still considered safe. Follow-up testing has shown that bacteria of greater concern, such as fecal coliform or E. coli, is not present.
The water district has increased the chlorine injection rate, along with increased testing and monitoring.
Usually total coliform bacteria are generally not harmful in themselves and are bacteria which are naturally present in the environment. However they are used as an indicator that other, potentially harmful, bacteria may be present. When the number of samples taken, showing the bacteria to be present, spiked above the state standard, the Gardner Water and Sanitation District was cited by the CDPHE for a violation.
In other news, the county commission heard from Gardner resident, Dale Lyons, who spoke on the inclusion of health regulations into the county’s land use guide. “With oil and gas coming into the county, we need regulations that will protect the health of citizens. Air and water quality are very necessary. Chronic respiratory disease is above the state average and can be exacerbated by environmental contaminates.”
The Planning Commission will take the recommendations under consideration and, along with other questions, will seek advice from the La Plata county attorney Jeff Robins. La Plata county’s land use regulations have been adopted by Huerfano County and Robins is more experienced in the applications of the regulations, thus the county is seeking advice from him.
A proposed budget for 2012 was given to the county commissioners showing a one-third drop in fund balances from $3.346 million in 2011 to $2.234 million for 2012. No raises have been budgeted in the coming year.