El Paso County Public Health staff will be working in the area of the Black Forest Fire today, July 11, and Friday, July 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. surveying water well damage to assess potential risk to the aquifers.
While supplies last, staff will also be available in the Subway parking lot at 11590 Black Forest Road during these hours to provide residents with free 6 mil plastic bags (thick, puncture-resistant plastic) that can be used for debris removal or to cover damaged well heads. Water test kits with instructions and laboratory hours will also be available.
It is the well owner’s responsibility to protect their damaged well and the aquifers from potential contamination. Temporary methods to protect water wells (such as covering with a thick, puncture-resistant bag) are inexpensive and easy to do.
As residents begin removing debris from their property, Public Health recommends taking steps to prevent damage to individual drinking water and wastewater disposal systems. First, locate and clearly mark the well head and septic system. Prevent groundwater contamination due to a damaged well head by making sure the well head is properly covered. If you believe your well head has been damaged, a well industry professional assessment is recommended.
Public Health teams will be wearing orange vests, marked ‘Public Health’, and will be working in coordination with members of the Colorado Division of Water Resources. If you see public health staff in the area, they will be available to answer questions about water wells, septic systems and provide resources to residents.
More information about wells and septic systems after a wildfire can be found at www.elpasocountyhealth.org.