The residents of the foothill town of Lyons, hit hard by Colorado flooding, have another misery piled on their already destroyed and damaged homes, businesses and roads: the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria has been found in the town's water system.
"It is critical we get [the water system] back up, and get it disinfected before we would ... want any of you to be back," Simonsen said.
E. coli is potentially deadly and can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and kidney failure.
The finding is among the many woes compounding rescue and recovery efforts in the state, where record floods across 4,500 square miles have wiped out thousands of homes, torn through bridges, damaged oil storage tanks and left seven dead, with three others presumed dead.
On Saturday, the number of people still unaccounted for stood at 60 -- down from 80 on Friday.
Statewide, oil and gas spills remain a chief concern as officials assess the damage. The state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said Saturday that more than 25,000 gallons of oil are known to have been released across the state, an amount equal to two 300-barrel storage tanks.
The National Guard reported Saturday rescues of 3,233 people and 1,047 pets. Statewide, nearly 6,000 remained under evacuation orders. About 200 are staying in nine shelters. The flood zone has been reduced by more than half, but it still measures almost 2,000 square miles, according to state figures.
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, will visit the state Monday, the White House said.