False Positives Behind THC Results In Hugo Water Supply

HUGO, Colo. (CBS4) – False positive results are blamed for the scare that Hugo’s water supply was tainted with THC.

Warnings not to drink the water were lifted Saturday after multiple tests confirmed there was no THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, in the water.

For two days, residents didn’t drink or cook with the town’s water for fear it was tainted with THC.

Officials hold a news conference in Hugo on July 21, 2016, to discuss the health issue. (credit: CBS)

Officials hold a news conference in Hugo on July 21, 2016, to discuss the health issue. (credit: CBS)

Bottled water was distributed to residents after officials said Thursday that some field tests showed evidence of the chemical, and more tests were ordered. No illnesses were reported in Hugo, a town of about 730 people some 100 miles southeast of Denver.

The incident began when the Lincoln County Department of Human Services started conducting drug testing on its employees. One of those workers tested positive for marijuana.

RELATED STORIES: Marijuana Legalization Story Archive

There are conflicting reports but one person close to the investigation says that employee claimed the positive results came after drinking the water. So, the water was tested.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office reported the water was used as a control that was supposed to test negative. Surprisingly, the water turned up positive for THC.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was called in to conduct more thorough testing. The CBI ultimately determined there was no THC in the town’s water after six of 10 tests were said to be false positives.

Well 1, where signs of tampering and forced entry were found (credit: CBS)

Well 1, where signs of tampering and forced entry were found (credit: CBS)

Those results didn’t explain tampering that was discovered at one of Hugo’s well houses. That investigation continues.

Commercial marijuana cultivation, product manufacturing, testing facilities and retail marijuana stores are banned in Hugo.

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