Boil Water Advisory for Huntington, well tests positive for E. Coli

File photo - Tap water (ThinkStock)

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE)  The city of Huntington is advising residents to boil their water before drinking it. Tests conducted on a water sample collected Monday, May 12 showed possible contamination by fecal matter.

Results of those routine tests came back as positive for E. coli, which indicates the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste.

The city is currently conducting tests on additional water samples. The affected well was immediately shut off and the process of disinfecting it is underway. The source of the possible contamination hasn’t been determined.

City officials expect to resolve the issue by the afternoon of Wednesday, May 21 but say until then, residents should bring water to a rolling boil for one minute before drinking it or cooking with it.

The following notice was posted on the City of Huntington’s website:

Water Tested Positive for Fecal Contamination System Name: Huntington Water Department
Well # 5
Our water system detected fecal indicators (E. coli) in our well. As our customers, you have a right to know
what happened and what we are doing to correct this situation. On May 15, 2014, we learned that one (1) of
our routine samples collected May 12, 2014 was total coliform positive. As required by the Ground Water
Rule, one of our follow-up steps was to collect sample from the well. The sample from the well collected on
May 15, 2014 tested positive for a fecal indicator (E. coli). We are now conducting additional sampling of the
well to determine the extent of the problem and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine the
source of the contamination.

What should I do? DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a
rolling boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using it. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms
in the water. You may also use bottled water. Use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, preparing
food, and washing dishes until further notice.

Also, if you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, or are elderly, you may be at
increased risk and should seek advice about drinking water from your health care providers. General
guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water
Hotline at (800) 426-4791. If you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.

What does this mean? Inadequately treated or inadequately protected water may contain disease-causing
organisms. These organisms can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and associated
headaches. Fecal indicators are microbes whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated
with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term health effects, such as
diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants,
young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. These
symptoms are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms
and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.

What Happened? What is being done?
The City Water Department, during normal distribution testing, identified a positive total coliform sample in
the City’s water distribution system. Once that positive sample was identified, it triggered the need to do
additional testing from the water supply (wells). That testing identified that one of the City’s wells tested
positive for e-coli. Once this was identified the City immediately shut off that well and began the process of
disinfecting it and investigating its source. Due to the nature of the testing and bacteria, IDEM has required
the City of Huntington to issue a boil order advisory. The City has extensively tested the distribution system
and at the time of this notice, has not had any further positive tests. If anything changes the City will reissue
the advisory with the new information. The City is working with IDEM Drinking water officials to determine
the best course of action and will continue to update our customers if any new information is found.

We anticipate resolving the problem by the afternoon of May 21st, 2014.

For more information, please contact Ms. Annette Carroll at 260-358-2309
or write to mailing address 2290 Engle Street, Huntington Indiana 46750

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not
have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and
businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.
This notice is being sent to you by Huntington Water Department


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