Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Test results showed E. Coli

Test results showed E. Coli
By Tyler B. Reed / Daily News StaffWednesday, November 9, 2005HOLLISTON --

Water samples taken from two locations last Wednesday tested positive for the toxic E. coli bacteria yesterday, town officials announced last night.
Testing on samples taken Friday and Monday showed no E. coli, otherwise known as fecal coliform bacteria, but continued to indicate the presence of total coliform bacteria at various locations.
The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a mandatory water boil order yesterday after the test results came back. The order will last until at least Friday, when the next update on testing is expected, Town Administrator Paul LeBeau said last night.
In an announcement to residents on Sunday, the town said results had improved and only one sample tested positive for the coliform bacteria. But the latest tests show bacteria in five locations: the high school, residences on Hollis Street, Tea Party Lane and Mohawk Path and in raw water from well 2.
"It's a backward step," LeBeau said.
Water officials so far have been unable to determine the cause of the problem. One idea floating around, LeBeau said, is the bacteria could have entered the water system after heavy rains last month that flooded streets and parking lots.
The Board of Water Commissioners will meet tonight to discuss that topic. "They want to try to determine what exactly is causing it," LeBeau said.
The Water Department continues to add chlorine to the water system as a safety precaution against the possible presence of E. coli.
The two locations where E. Coli was present last Wednesday are an office on Concord Street and Well 2 on Maple Street.
E. coli is an indicator that water may have been contaminated with animal or human waste. Ingesting microbes from the waste can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea and headaches.
LeBeau said the Board of Health was informed about two people experiencing diarrhea, though it had not been determined whether that symptom was a result of bacteria from the water.
Officials are asking residents to boil water for at least a minute before drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes or preparing food. They say it is especially important for young children and the elderly.
According to information provided by LeBeau, eight of 19 samples taken last Wednesday showed the presence of total coliform bacteria, which is an indicator organism. Further rounds of testing on those samples eventually showed that water from two locations in town contained E. coli.
Officials took 20 water samples each on Friday and Monday for further testing. They found no E. coli in those samples.
"That's the good news," LeBeau said.(Tyler B. Reed can be reached at 508-626-4423 or treed@cnc.com.)

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