Safe return to Lyons months away due to E.Coli, infrastructure concerns

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LYONS, Colo. -- County administrators offered some grave news to Lyons residents on Thursday night, telling them it may be anywhere from two to six months before its safe for them to return to their homes.

One of the biggest revelations of the night was that E. coli has been discovered in the town's water supply. Town administrator Victoria Simonsen said broken water lines in the area likely led to the contamination, and that repairs to those lines will likely cost around $1 million.

But Boulder County officials said that isn't only problem in the wake of flooding that turned the town into an island a week ago. Officials also detailed problems with Lyon's sewerage, power, roads and bridges on Friday night.

Even with all the safety concerns in the area, residents complained that restricted access passes that granted them access to their homes on either Thursday, Friday or Saturday this week are preventing them from accessing their homes on a full-time basis.

While officials said they would work to get residents as much access to their homes as possible, they strongly urged anyone interested in permanently returning to Lyons at this point in time to reconsider.

"This is not a mandatory evacuation, but it is a health concern if you stay there and we wish you would leave," Boulder County Sheriff's deputy Nick Goldberger said during a meeting inside a packed house at the Longmont City Council Chambers Thursday night. "You're all adults, and you'll make your own decisions."

Most of the news provided to Lyons residents was difficult to digest, but there were bits and pieces of good news provided Thursday night.

One of them was an upcoming meeting of scheduled for Friday, at which town officials were hoping to decide if emergency crews will be able to work around the still-flooded St. Vrain River. If it is indeed safe, repairs to the town's infrastructure can begin sooner rather than later.