Residence in Woody Creek sees elevated lead in water |

Residence in Woody Creek sees elevated lead in water

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Residents of the Woody Creek Mobile Home Park received notification Monday that an elevated reading of lead in the water at one home was recorded in September.

Corrosion within the plumbing that serves the home is the suspected source of the toxic heavy metal, but the reading shouldn’t be cause for alarm, according to Arnie Ball, plant operator with Independence Environmental Services. The firm operates various water systems around the valley and conducts water monitoring on a contract basis.

The notices, posted on the doors of all 50 trailers at the park yesterday, are required by state regulations.

A follow-up test of the water has already been done; subsequent lead levels were within the allowable limit, Ball said.

“We didn’t come up with a high lead the next time around,” he said.

Nonetheless, residents of the trailer park have been advised to let water used for drinking or cooking run from their taps for at least a minute, flushing out any water that has been standing in the plumbing.

Water samples from five homes at the park were tested in September; one contained a lead level of .019 milligrams per liter; the federal standard, or action level, is .015.

The next step, according to Ball, is a corrosion control study.

“The lead is from the corrosion of the plumbing,” he said.

The well that serves the trailer park has also been tested and does not contain a problem lead level, he said.

Ultimately, it may be necessary to treat the water at the park with an additive that reduces the water’s corrosiveness, Ball said.

“If they want to treat it, that’s fine,” said Lanny Curtis, president of the park homeowners’ association.

Although park residents received the official notice yesterday, word of the problem lead reading had already spread via word of mouth. It has not caused great alarm in the neighborhood, Curtis said.

“We’ll see what kind of response we get once these letters are distributed,” he said. “I’m not really concerned about it myself.”

The notice, from the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, which owns the park, notes lead can accumulate in the body and case serious health problems. Young children are particularly at risk.

Residents also received a handout from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that offers additional information on how to reduce lead in drinking water ” flushing water in the pipes and consuming only cold water, since hot water is likely to contain more lead. The EPA recommends individual households have their water tested.

Curtis said he’s not aware that any of his neighbors have taken that step.

The park’s water is tested for lead and copper every three years, according to Ball. This is the first time it has exceeded the federal action level, he said.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is]

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