Bacteria discovery temporarily shuts down water distribution at Navajo State Park


By John Livingston | Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The water distribution system at Navajo State Park has been shut down because of a positive bacteria test in the source water supply. The temporary shutdown impacts the park’s drinking water, toilets and showers.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will grant full refunds to all campers whose stay or reservations included Friday, Sept. 16 through Friday, Sept. 23. Park Manager Brian Sandy said the park is following all Colorado Department of Public Health guidelines for notifications, water testing and monitoring.

The presence of E.coli was discovered through routine sampling of two wells that serve Navajo State Park. The contaminated well was immediately shut down. Sampling of the other well showed no signs of contamination. Testing also showed there was no bacteria present in the distribution system, indicating that the treatment system effectively removed the bacteria prior to distribution.

Still, CPW made the decision to voluntarily shut down the system as a precaution.

“We have taken the impacted well out of service and shifted to the second well,” said Navajo State Park Technician David Belmear. “We have drained the entire system and refilled it with the other source. We will continue to take in more bacterial samples of the new source. As long as it is good, we will open it back up.”

Navajo State Park has called all incoming campers with reservations through Sept. 23 to notify them of the situation. Those looking to make future reservations will receive notifications.

Navajo State Park remains open for day-use activities as well as camping but cannot provide water-related services to visitors at this time.

The contaminated well will be out of service indefinitely as CPW follows all Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guidance for treatment.

For questions regarding refunds or the status of the park’s water distribution system, call (970) 883-2208.

Navajo State Park is a major recreational facility in southwest Colorado, drawing more than 300,000 visitors every year. The 2,100-acre park offers boating, fishing, trails, wildlife viewing, 138 camp sites and three cabins.