STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO-September 23, 2020-City of Steamboat Springs Water & Utilities crews responded to a significant water main break within the city’s system early this morning, Wednesday, September 23, 2020, near the Depot and Union Pacific Railway tracks on 13th Street.
Crews were able to respond quickly, caught the break shortly after it occurred and shut off water to the line. The line was isolated, and service was rerouted and restored to affected areas within the city shortly after the initial break. A large sink hole has emerged in the parking lot due to the water break and repairs are underway to both the line and impacted areas.
Due to the significance of the break, widespread impacts, such as brown or dirty water, are being felt throughout the city distribution system. The cause of the brown water is due to the extreme change in the hydraulic regime within the pipes causing sediment from the bottom of the pipes to be kicked up into the water. It is typical for brown water to occur for short periods during and after a watermain break event; although, it is typically localized area near the break.
“Because the brown water caused by this event is throughout the system, it will likely take much longer than usual for the water to clear up,” explained Water Distribution Manager Michelle Carr. “The turbidity, although aesthetically unpleasing, is not harmful if ingested.”
Until the water does clear up, the city is advising residents to avoid running hot water to prevent sucking the turbid water into their hot water heaters, and to run the cold water from a bathtub to help clear up the water. If water does not clear up within 30 minutes of running cold water, shut off water and wait for 30 to 60 minutes before attempting to clear the line again.
The city used Routt County’s reserve 9-1-1 message to inform residents of the break as well as ways to flush lines. In addition, information was updated via digital channels as the incident transpired.
Residents may contact the Water & Utilities Department at 970.871.6303 or may reach out directly to Water Distribution Manager Michelle Carr with questions or concerns regarding this situation.
Michelle Carr, Water Distribution Manager, 970.871.8204 or email
Amber Gregory, Utilities Engineer, 970.871.8211 or email
Michael Lane, Communications Manager, 970.871.8220 or email