Lawsuit next over Alamosa water? |

Lawsuit next over Alamosa water?

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

ALAMOSA, Colo. ” A Seattle law firm says it plans to sue this southern Colorado city over contamination of tap water that has sickened at least 276 people.

Marler Clark LLP said Wednesday it was mailing a notice of claim as a first step toward filing suit against the city of Alamosa. The case involves a child who was hospitalized for four days in the salmonella outbreak.

Lawyers say the boy, whose identity wasn’t revealed, is recovering.

Alamosa City Clerk Judy Egbert said she had not seen the notice and could not comment.

City officials have been unable to trace the source of the contamination and are flushing the water system with chlorine, a process that could take up to two weeks. Residents will not be able to drink the water until the last of the disinfecting chemical washes out of the water system. Bathing with it may be allowed within a couple of days.

The first salmonella victim began showing symptoms around March 8, and state health officials became aware of the outbreak a week later. At least 72 cases have been confirmed, state health officials said.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach pain. Victims typically recover on their own, but the elderly, infants and people with impaired immune systems may require treatment. More than half the cases involve children 11 years old and younger.

“Young victims need a small dose of the bacteria and they’re probably more likely to be brought in for treatment,” said John Pape, an epidemiologist for the state health department.

Salmonella is usually a food-borne disease and contamination of public water systems is rare.