Governor lauds Alamosa response to salmonella

(03-22-2008)

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter at a press conference in Alamosa March 22.

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter said Alamosa officials have done "a remarkable job" responding to a salmonella outbreak, suspected to have originated in the municipal water system.

"They are doing all they can and should do. Local officials and all the volunteers have shown an amazing spirit of coordination and cooperation. That spirit defines the character of this place and, I hope, of the state," Ritter said. Ten different public health agencies are working with Alamosa County Emergency management.

After declaring the town a state disaster area Friday, Ritter traveled to Alamosa Saturday and spoke at a press conference outside the SLV Regional Medical Center, at one of four water distribution sites in the city. The governor's declaration makes up to $300,000 available from the state's disaster fund and activates the National Guard. Ritter said a planning team from the National Guard is already in Alamosa to coordinate in water distribution with local efforts.

Ritter outlined basic instructions for water users during disinfection of the water system, which begins at 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 25. Disinfection will consist of flushing the system with a high concentration of chlorine.

  • Showers are permitted
  • Limit exposure of young children to water; chlorination could irritate skin and eyes
  • USE ONLY BOTTLED WATER for drinking, food preparation, and dish washing
  • Wash hands frequently, use soap and hand sanitizer

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (center) with Colorado Senator Ken Salazar(left) and Congressman John Salazar (Adams State Class of 1982) at a press conference in Alamosa March 22.

Ritter was joined by Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, Congressman John Salazar (Adams State Class of 1982), Colorado representative for Dist. 62 Rafael Gallegos, Alamosa Mayor Farris Bervig, Alamosa County Commissioners, representatives from the State Department of Public Health and Environment and the State Division of Emergency Management.

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (left) and Congressman John Salazar (Adams State Class of 1982) at an Alamosa press conference March 22.

Ken Salazar said, "the Mayor, the county commissioners - everyone is doing a great job making sure that we are protecting the people." He added water donations and technical assistance are coming from across the state, and even Utah.

As an example, Bervig said the city of Fort Collins delivered 6,000 gallons of water Friday.

By Julie Waechter