Englewood boil order likely due to a single broken water meter

The order was lifted on Friday.

A dripping Denver faucet. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A dripping Denver faucet. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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After a text message about E. coli in Englewood water went to way more people than was necessary, officials have lifted a water boil order for the city and say they have a better idea about what happened.

Angela Goodman, Englewood’s deputy director of utilities, told us it was probably just a broken water meter in just one front yard.

Essentially, city workers go around testing water from spigots of about 500 homes on a regular basis. If they find something gross, like E. coli, they have to respond with a lot of caution. That’s what happened last week, when Englewood told everyone in their “Zone 1” water district to stop using the water. Next comes an investigation.

In this case, Goodman said the city didn’t see anything wrong with water supply or treatment facilities, but they did find a broken water meter at the test site that connects city pipes to the home.

“At the sample location, the meter pit that services that home was flooded, so the meter itself was sitting in a bunch of water,” she told us.

The broken meter meant bacteria could seep in from the soil around it and infiltrate the home’s system. Their tests stopped finding E. coli after workers dug out the pipes, replaced the equipment and flushed the system.

“That’s what we’re thinking happened,” Goodman said.

Still, she added the boil notice was the right call.

“It was the safest thing to do with the public,” she said, done out of an “abundance of caution.”

To be clear, nobody in Denver was affected by the order or the issue. Englewood residents should flush out their systems to be sure they’ve got fresh water, now that they can use their faucets again.

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