The operator of the water-treatment system at the Junction Creek Mobile Home Park mixed sodium hypochlorite and muriatic acid Monday, resulting in the formation of chlorine gas. The treatment system was turned off after the incident, causing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue a boil water advisory to residents of the park.
Residents of the 40-unit park located at 535 Junction Creek Road (County Road 204) in northwest Durango received word from the park’s management just after 1 p.m. Monday by text message advising them not to drink the water and that water would be provided to them. They received leaflets with the same message that afternoon.
“No water has been provided to me, or, to my knowledge, anyone else,” said resident Jeremiah Jack.
Kaitlyn Beekman, spokeswoman with the CDPHE’s Water Quality Control Division, confirmed that no chemicals were spilled into the environment but said the advisory was issued because the shutdown of the system caused a reduction in system pressure that could allow for the potential contamination of drinking water. Beekman also said the mixed chemicals were neutralized and properly disposed of.
The boil water advisory will remain in effect until system pressure is restored, the system is flushed and three samples test negative for the presence of total coliform, a broad group of bacteria. Only after these steps are completed and CDPHE is confident the risk has been mitigated will the advisory be rescinded.
Megan Graham, spokeswoman for San Juan Basin Public Health, provided these precautions to prevent similar future incidents:
- Never mix bleach with other household chemicals.
- When working with household chemicals, do so in a well-ventilated area.
- Make sure all household cleaning products and chemicals are properly labeled.
- Keep household chemicals beyond the reach of children or behind childproof locks.
- Save the National Poison Control Center number (800) 222-1222 in case of emergency