Residents stick to bottled water as they wait to hear whether water was contaminated with THC

THC contamination threatens town's water supply
Posted at 9:10 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 23:10:47-04

HUGO, Colo. -- Hundreds living in the small eastern Colorado town of Hugo will have to wait another day before knowing whether their water is contaminated with THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in Marijuana.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office announced on Friday that results will likely be released on Saturday, adding that the Colorado Bureau of Investigations is heading up the test on the city’s well-water system.

Investigators say they were notified about a possible contamination after a private company alerted them saying they had found signs of THC in the water.

The company then tested the water after getting inconsistent results on THC tests on their employees. The county also ran its own tests, resulting in six positive results for THC.  

Residents have been urged to not drink or cook with the water, although they may use the water for bathing, laundry and for washing dishes.

“Raw THC would take an astronomical amount [to be harmful in water]” said Capt. Michael Yowell, from the Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office.

In the meantime, the town's only locally-owned restaurant, Jean's Family Kitchen, remained closed on Friday.

Volunteers helped distribute bottled water to people in the area on Friday and will continue to do so until 10 p.m., resuming on Saturday at 8 a.m. on the east side of Hugo’s town hall.

“My oldest son, the 6-year-old, has been wanting to go swimming and been wanting to play in the water,” said Amelia Marron, who lives in Hugo and has two children including an infant, “but I’m trying to keep him out of it.”

Investigators aren’t ruling out the possibility of someone tampering with the water.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in our nation,” said Cpt. Yowell, “in our community and in our state that would disagree that having THC presumptive positive on a glass of tap water is usual and so because we don’t know... 'Is it THC? Is it another compound causing the false positive for this field test?' We want to know what that is and until we know that we’re going to take safety precautions.”

Megan Mosher, the spokesperson for Lincoln Memorial Hospital said they’re using water from the hospital’s reserve system for patients.

They’ve also tested the water with negative results, but will continue using bottled and reserve water as they wait for the final, more thorough results. 


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