Brian Head town officials warn residents about E. coli in water supply

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BRIAN HEAD — E. coli bacteria were discovered in Brian Head’s water supply Thursday, prompting town officials to warn residents to boil their drinking water or use bottled water until further notice.

Brian Head Town Manager Bret Howser told St. George News / Cedar City News Friday that there have not been any reports of anyone becoming sick due to the contamination.

Howser said the water system is being cleaned out and treated with chlorine.

“Normally, our water’s not treated, as we run fresh mountain spring water here,” he said. “Right now, we’re treating the water and flushing the system. We’ll retest it each day and after we have it cleaned up and we have a couple of clean tests, we’ll lift the boil order.”

The boil order is expected to be in place for as long as four days, Howser added.

What should I do?

Do not drink water from faucets or taps without boiling it first. After bringing the water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, then let it cool before using. Alternatively, use bottled water for drinking. 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. 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.

Those symptoms may be caused by other things besides 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 from their health care providers about drinking water.

What happened? 

Bacterial contamination may occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source, such as after heavy rains, for example. Contamination can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or because of a failure in the water treatment process.

What is being done?

Brian Head town officials say they are chlorinating and flushing the water system and are increasing sampling for coliform bacteria to determine the source of the contamination. Officials say they will inform residents when tests show no bacteria and it is no longer necessary to boil water. It is anticipated that the problem will be resolved within the next four days.

Additional questions or concerns?

For more information, please contact Brian Head Town Manager Bret Howser at the town hall offices, 435-677-2029.

For general guidelines on how to lessen the risk of infection by microbes, call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

 

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