Alamosa residents woke up this morning to learn they have about 72 hours before the town begins flushing a high amount of chlorine through its public water system.

When that begins, boiling water will no longer make it fit for cooking or drinking.  The town has been on a bottled water order since last Wednesday.

With 130 people infected with salmonella poisoning believed to be tied to the town’s tap water, including 7 in the hospital,  the purpose of the flush is to put enough chlorine through the system –about 25 milligrams per liter – to kill bacteria throughout the system.

During the big flush, public health officials are warning people not to drink or even wash dishes using public water.   A strong chlorine odor will likely give people a constant warning whenever they run the water during the flush.    If one can stand the smell, officials say it will be okay to shower or bathe in water.   They do warn the chlorine could be a concern for those with sensitive skin.