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Public Notice of Drinking Water Turbidity Single Exceedance, Dec. 14, 2017

Public Notice – City of Fort Collins Public Water System ID No. CO0135291
PDF version (106KB) View the second page for the Spanish version. Vea la página dos para español.


The City of Fort Collins Utilities recently received a Treatment Technique Violation from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for a single maximum turbidity event that occurred Dec. 14, 2017. Citizens and customers do not need to take any actions due to this issue. The filters that clean the water were never affected and remained significantly below the 1.0 turbidity units requirement.

Water sampling performed on Dec. 14, 2017, showed turbidity levels in the filter process effluent of 2.5 turbidity units for a period of 18 minutes between 8:41-8:59 a.m. This is above the standard of 1.0 turbidity units.

View After-Action Review (PDF 131KB)

Who is impacted?
At the time of the turbidity exceedance, City of Fort Collins Utilities was providing treated water to its customers and to its consecutive water systems, including Colorado State University and West Fort Collins Water District. Information on service area boundaries are available here.

What happened?
The high turbidity was caused by a malfunction of the lime feed system that is used to control the chemical characteristics of the water and provide corrosion control in home plumbing pipes. Lime is a safe, approved additive to the water. Due to the malfunction, too much lime was fed into the water, causing a spike in turbidity. The filters that clean the water were never affected and remained significantly below the 1.0 turbidity units requirement. Fort Collins Utilities failed to notify the State drinking water program (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)) of the high level of turbidity in a timely manner.

What steps were taken to correct the issue?
The lime dose was immediately lowered to normal levels and the turbidity dropped below 1.0 turbidity units after 18 minutes.

Fort Collins Utilities routinely monitors the water delivered to customers within its service territory for turbidity (cloudiness). Turbidity values tell us whether we are effectively filtering the water supply.

What should I do? What does this mean?

  • Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, pregnant women and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice from their health care providers about drinking water.
  • The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.
  • The filters that clean the water were never affected on Dec. 14, 2017, and remained significantly below the 1.0 turbidity units requirement.

For more information, contact Carol Webb, Water Resources and Treatment Operations Manager at 970-221-6231, V/TDD 711 or Y3dlYmJAZmNnb3YuY29t.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (such as, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.