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Water Authority of Western Nassau County Issues Drinking Water Warning

Friday, 22 July 2011 00:00

Water Is Contaminated With E. coli Bacteria, Boil Your Water Before Using

One out of 11 water samples collected by the Water Authority on July 18, 2011, was found positive for E. coli bacteria. This bacteria can make you sick, and is a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems.

The Water Authority believes that this is a localized issue. On July 18, a distribution sampling location near N. Fletcher Avenue and Dutch Broadway tested positive for E. coli.  Upon resampling of the location on July 19, there was no detection of E. coli. or Total Coliform bacteria; however, a location near N. Fletcher Avenue and Dutch Broadway tested positive for Total Coliform bacteria, but negative for E. coli triggering this mandatory notification response.

The Nassau County Department of Health also took samples in our distribution system on July 19, 2011.  All the Health Department’s samples showed no detection of either E. coli or Total Coliform bacteria.

All well and water storage tanks that supply water to the area were also sampled on July 19, 2011. There were no detections of E. coli or Total Coliform bacteria in any of those samples.

The Water Authority will be flushing the water mains in the area of the contamination, and increase the level of chlorine (sodium hypochlorite), which is used for disinfection purposes in the distribution system. We will continue to take samples from the wells, storage tanks, and treatment facilities that supply water to the affected area, and in the distribution system in and around the affected area. We will inform you when tests show no bacteria and you no longer need to boil your water.

What should I do?

• DO NOT DRINK WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice.  Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.  Use only food that was prepared prior to July 18, 2011.  Discard any ice made after July 18, 2011, turn off icemakers and disinfect once the boil water notice is lifted.

Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause 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.

The symptoms above 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. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

What happened?
What is being done?

Bacterial contamination can occur when there is a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.

For more information, please contact Customer Service at 516-327-4100 or 58 S. Tyson Ave., Floral Park.  If you require further assistance call the Nassau County Department of Health at 516-227-9692 or after hours number at 516-742-6154.  General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1(800) 426-4791.