Colorado Public Health: Algaecide in Vail Resorts Pond Water Suspected of Killing Fish
An algaecide toxic to fish entered Mill Creek this week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has learned from discussions with Vail Resorts.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife recorded 120 dead fish Tuesday at Mill Creek and Gore Creek in Vail, where a spill was reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment by Vail Resorts.
MaryAnn Nason of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said on Friday that health concerns are expected to be minimal; However, for anyone who is “still worried and wants to be extra careful, we recommend not letting children play in the water or allowing dogs to drink the water for a few more days.”
The ministry said it was inspecting Mill and Gore Creek to determine if there had been possible violations of Colorado’s water quality control law, Nason said.
The department coordinated with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to provide the initial investigation on Tuesday. Friday’s inspection followed that effort, Nason said.
On Monday, Vail Resorts was contacted by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, which had noticed an abnormally high demand for water in the central Vail area over the weekend.
The water and sanitation district had reduced the high usage to a storage tank in Golden Peak. The main customer user of this reservoir is Vail Resorts for its snowmaking system, which, according to a note from the City of Vail’s Department of Environmental Sustainability, is generally not live until October 1.
Vail Resorts, according to the memo, discovered that a few isolation valves on their snowmaking facility had remained open since March. Service was performed on the snowmaking system on September 17, which required opening the drain line for repair work.
On Monday, the gates to the snowmaking facility were closed, which stopped water from spilling into Mill Creek.
The discharged water was blue-gray and insects, fish and algae had been killed in 1,500 feet of the affected creek. Common algaecides contain copper sulfate, which is blue and can be toxic to fish.
“Based on discussions with Vail Resorts, we learned that the water discharged into the river is a combination of potable water and pond water with an algaecide, which in this case was toxic to fish given dead fish, ”Nason said. “While the events that result in the death of fish are of immediate concern, dead fish do not always mean that there is an urgent threat to public health. “
The fish were surrounded by high levels of spilled and contaminated water, Nason said.
But for people or dogs playing near or in this area, Nason said the risk of a health impact should be low “because much of the spilled water was washed away and diluted over time. that it moves downstream – otherwise we would see a lot more dead fish downstream.