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Water Supply Concerns Surface After High Park Fire

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A scientist with the City of Fort Collins tests a water sample from the Poudre River (credit: CBS)

A scientist with the City of Fort Collins tests a water sample from the Poudre River (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- One Front Range community has taken measures to protect their water supply after the High Park Fire.

The City of Fort Collins gets its water from two sources: the Poudre River and Horsetooth Reservoir. The city has shut down the pipeline from the Poudre River to prevent contamination after the fire and heavy rains pushed soot and debris into the river.

Scientists at the Fort Collins Water Department are keeping a close eye on the water from the Poudre River.

“The Poudre River is going to be highly affected by the High Park Fire,” said City of Fort Collins Water Production Manager Lisa Voytko. “I mean, regardless of the fire or not, we still have to go through a lot of processes and quality-checking to make sure that the water is safe for the customers to drink.”

What they didn’t want was rain to push all the soot and ash and debris into the river. Which is exactly what happened over the weekend.

“It will cause a lot of sediment to come down into the river and make certain levels very high which could be difficult to treat,” said Voytko.

There are monitoring stations all along the Poudre River but more are being built to give scientists and engineers a clearer picture of what is happening with the water quality.

“We’ll have to adjust our treatment process either by chemical addition or back washing the filters more frequently or other aspects to adapt that for different water quality,” said Voytko.

The Horsetooth Reservoir has plenty of water to get the city through the summer until the Poudre River can be stabilized for drinking and other activities.

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