Just before 2:00 p.m. Friday, August 17 an employee of the contractor working on the north district road improvement project in Grand Teton National Park struck the historic water line with a backhoe causing the line to rupture. The concrete Colter Bay water main was installed in the early 1950’s and is slated for replacement this fall.
Grand Teton National Park rangers and maintenance crews immediately responded and shut off water to the line within minutes of the incident. Park staff implemented an emergency action plan that included deployment of pre-staged pallets of water jugs, mobile water filling stations and portable restrooms.
The repair held through the night Friday and there were no signs of leaks Saturday morning. A water sample was taken in the morning on Saturday, August 18 and delivered to a State of Wyoming approved lab in Yellowstone National Park for testing. Grand Teton National Park received word from the lab just before noon on Sunday that the water sample met required quality control standards and was deemed safe for consumption.
Grand Teton National Park, the Federal Highway Administration, HK Contractors, and Grand Teton Lodge Company worked together to limit disruption to visitor services and ensure visitor and employee safety during the water service interruption. All visitor services, including food service, at Colter Bay remained open throughout the weekend.