Following the devastating Colorado wildfires in 2020, many residents in the Grand County area are concerned about the impacts of the fires on forests across the watersheds that provide drinking water for our communities. Since 2000, the frequency and duration of wildfires in Colorado has increased dramatically, forcing water providers spend more resources on water-quality treatment, sediment and debris removal, and related issues.
Increased runoff from burned watersheds releases nutrients, dissolved organic carbon, iron, manganese and other contaminants into streams and reservoirs, creating challenges for water managers and drinking-water treatment facilities. Private landowners who have been directly impacted by the wildfires, or who had fires burn within 100 feet of their property, should have their wells inspected by a licensed well contractor. If the well has lost pressure, or was burned in the fire, the water should not be used until the well has been inspected, any damaged components are repaired and the water has been tested.
Even if the wildfires have not directly impacted your property or well, it's still important to have your drinking water tested to ensure it is safe. Testing will determine if there are unsafe levels of arsenic, nitrate, bacteria, lead, as well as other contaminants.
Protecting Your Well and Septic SystemIf your property has been damaged by wildfires, before hiring contractors to clean up debris you should identify and clearly mark the location of septic and well systems to prevent damage, including:
- Septic tanks
- Pump tanks
- Electrical components
- Distribution boxes
- Septic system leach field areas
- Transmission lines
- Location of water wells.
- Location of any water well lines from the water well to the buildings
Grand Lake Plumbing can also test your drinking water to ensure it is safe to drink, and recommend solutions for improving water quality when needed.