ST. GEORGE – During routine water quality testing over the weekend, a water sample taken in the Fort Pierce Industrial Park tested positive for potentially harmful bacteria in the drinking water in that area.
Fecal coliform bacteria were found in the water distribution system in the industrial park, according to a press statement issued by the City of St. George Water Services Department Sunday. Businesses and residents in this immediate area are being asked to use bottled water or boil water before drinking it until further notice.
Additional testing in and around the area has isolated the coliform to a single sampling station. Multiple routine samples taken outside the Fort Pierce Industrial Park tested negative and show no signs of contamination including residential areas Bloomington Hills and Bloomington.
City water crews immediately replaced the contaminated sampling station, chlorinated and flushed the distribution system. Repeat samples have been collected and are currently being tested for the presence of coliforms and E. coli bacteria.
Crews have posted warning notices on all addresses in the industrial park and utilized the reverse 911 system to further notify those who may have been affected.
Due to the amount of chlorine used to disinfect the system, the maximum residual disinfection level, or MRDL, of chlorine was exceeded. Some people who use water containing chlorine well in excess of MRDL could experience irritating effects to their eyes and nose temporarily. Some people who drink water containing chlorine well in excess of the MRDL could experience stomach discomfort.
The chlorine residual concentrations have since returned to normal operating concentrations.
The cause of contamination at this location is unknown and is still under investigation. If the repeat samples taken come back negative the boil order could be lifted as early as Monday evening.
For more information, residents and businesses can contact the City of St. George Water Services Department at 435-627-4800 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or online.