Water tests show coliform bacteria; boil alert not required

Published 6:13 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The city of Brookhaven Water Department has reported the water system has violated a drinking water standard. In a letter dated Friday and received by most customers Tuesday, the department reported that three of the 15 samples for coliform bacteria taken in May showed the presence of the bacteria.

No emergency has been issued, and there is not a boil water alert for the city.

The coliform bacteria are generally not harmful, but they can be marker for other possible disease-causing organisms that could be in the system.

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“Although this is not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct the situation,” said the letter from the BWD.

Keith Lewis with the BWD said Tuesday that coliform bacteria is already in the water, and the department disinfects the water to keep it out.

Lewis explained that every month, the department takes 15 random water samples from around the city. One of the samples in May was taken from the vicinity of an abandoned house, in which water had not been used. That sample showed coliform. After receiving the results, two more samples were collected from the same house’s location that also tested positive for the bacteria.

Lewis said the department has increased flushing in the areas. They have also resampled the area and all new samples have come back negative for coliform.

People with specific health concerns should consult a doctor. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants and some elderly may be at an increased risk should seek advice from a health care provider.

Call 1-800-426-4791 to seek information about lessening the risk of infection by microbes. For more information about the city water system, contact the Brookhaven Water Department at 601-833-7721.