A town of more than 700 people in Lincoln County is being told not to drink their water or cook with it after several tests revealed the water supply turned positive results for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
The scare in the town of Hugo first surfaced after a local company was testing its own water and got a positive test result. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office was then notified and further testing at other locations was performed, which also produced positive results.
Investigators at the scene told ABC15 sister station Denver7 they believe there are signs of possible tampering at Hugo's well No. 1, which has been sealed and secured. Captain Mike Yowell with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said it will take some time for water to flush through the lines.
— Marc Stewart Denver7 (@MarcKMGH) July 22, 2016
“At this point we’re not taking anything off the table," Yowell said. "We’re looking at all angles here.”
Investigators said during a press conference Wednesday evening only six of the ten water samples taken tested positive for THC. Those tests were performed with what law enforcement officials called "field test kits." As more conclusive testing takes place, people living in this small town are being told not to drink the water, but they are allowing people to shower and use it for washing purposes.
So far, there have been no reports of illnesses or any negative side effects from residents, according Lincoln County Public Health Director Susan Kelly.
At the local bar, red solo cups, bottles of water and bags of ice are the new norm until someone can flush out the mystery.
“[It's] Very bizarre. For everybody,” said Wanda Harris, a bartender in the town of Hugo.
In the meantime, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is telling residents bottled water is on the way.
#HugosWater - Health Officials Law Enforcement Officers, and Emergency Managers are all involved in this situation. Bottled water on the way
— Lincoln County S.O. (@LincolnCountySO) July 21, 2016
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team was parked outside the Hugo City Town Hall with 5,000 bottles of water for residents.
Those who live in the area and feel sick or develop any symptoms, are asked to call 1-800-222-1222.