By Sarah Pridgeon
Further testing has confirmed that total coliform bacterias are no longer present in the city’s water system. The Public Works Department has confirmed it will continue sampling the water to ensure they are gone for good.
A second round of sampling was performed at the south booster system, where the initial tests returned a positive result for total coliform. This time, the results were negative.
“There is no trace remaining in the system,” confirms Public Works Director Larry Schommer.
The next round of routine testing for the Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to begin in September, but the city will sample the water system for its own knowledge in the meantime.
“Next week we will be doing more extensive sampling for our own knowledge, randomly throughout the distribution system,” says Schommer. “We’re just making sure that it’s not a recurring issue.”
The source of the problem is assumed to have been a foot-long crack discovered in the underground water tank, through which small tree roots had begun to grow. According to Schommer, it is likely that the routine chlorination process caught up to the roots and dislodged organic particles, which were then picked up by the total coliform test.
The crack was discovered when divers were called in to clean the city’s tanks in response to the positive result. It was promptly fixed.
“We’d like to thank everyone for their understanding and reiterate that, if the test had been positive for e-coli, we would have notified people,” he says.
“We would have sent out a recorded message. As we would have known exactly where the water was coming out, we could also have gone door to door to warn people if we had needed to.”
Coliform bacterias are naturally occurring in the environment and not usually harmful to humans – particularly in a case such as this one, where e-coli and fecal matter have been ruled out. Should a problem that does have potential health repercussions occur in the future, Schommer adds, residents can expect to be notified immediately.