The local government in Columbus, Indiana, ordered residents to boil drinking water, following confirmed reports of E. coli contamination.
Aside from drinking purposes, residents should also boil water for making ice, food preparation and dishwashing, according to City Utilities Director Keith Reeves. Boiling time should last for a minute and be allowed to cool before use.
For those with separate water systems, homeowners should also contact plumbing services in Indiana to check for any leaks. This will ensure that water from contaminated city pipes will not find their way into their supply.
Reeves disclosed that city utilities discovered the presence of E. coli in water pipes after an initial routine check. Subsequent inspections showed no signs of contamination, which were then reported to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. A city well also tested positive for E. coli, although further tests are needed to determine the elimination of bacteria from the water system, he added.
E. coli contamination takes places when fecal matter comes in contact with the water supply. The incident in Columbus represented the first time in 30 years, according to Reeves. Despite the occurrence of heavy rainfall, the city’s wells are built to withstand a 100-year flood that prevents surface water from entering the groundwater wells.
This has caused local officials to be puzzled on what truly caused the incident, as they have worked to find out the true reason. In the meantime, the city has stopped the distribution of water from the fairgrounds wells as of June 16 as a precautionary measure.
While scenarios of water contamination rarely happen, households should still observe safety habits for keeping their water supply free from bacteria. After all, we are ultimately responsible for looking after our loved ones’ health as well as our own.