Boil order in effect in Bristol


January 17, 2011
BRISTOL -- Residents of Bristol are being urged by town officials to boil tap water before using it due to traces of E. coli bacteria found over the weekend during a routine test of the town's wells.

According to a boil order issued by the town's Water Department, E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes containing microbes that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. The bacteria pose a particularly strong threat to infants, young children, the elderly, and those with severely compromised immune systems.

Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water supply (for example, after heavy rainfall), and can also result from a break in the distribution system or a failure in the water treatment process.

Crews from the Water Department are working to flush out the bacteria through chlorination, and have temporarily switched to a different water source. They anticipate that the problem will be resolved no later than Thursday.

In the meantime, residents using town water are advised to switch to bottled water if possible. If bottled water is not an option, they are urged not to ingest any water drawn from a tap without boiling it first for a period of at least two minutes.

Until further notice, residents should avoid using tap water for drinking, brushing teeth, washing vegetables or other foods, preparing baby formula or coffee, washing dishes, or making ice. It shoudl also not be given to pets.

Town water is still considered safe for washing clothes, and adults may use it to shower as long as they have no open wounds and avoid swallowing it. It is recommended, however, that parents of small children bathe them with pre-boiled water.

Children and adults should wash their hands only in chlorinated, bottled, or pre-boiled water, even after showering.

For more information, residents are encouraged to contact Water Department supervisor Jeff Charier at 726-6191 or the town fire department at 744-2632.

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