E. coli found in Uxbridge water; boil advisory issued
by Michael Henrich and Christine McCarthy, originally posted on June 20, 2016
UXBRIDGE, Mass. – The town of Uxbridge has extended its boil water order until at least Wednesday following the discovery of E. coli in the town’s public water supply.
Municipal water samples taken during routine testing late last week tested positive for coliform and then E. coli.
Further test results returned on Monday showed no trace of E. coli, but were positive for other potentially dangerous contaminants.
The Department of Public Works urged residents to use bottled water or boil the tap water for at least one minute before using it.
The town also asked residents to throw away all drinks, ice and food that have been made with town tap water within the last several days.
E. coli, a member of the coliform group, is a dangerous bacterium, especially for people with weakened immune systems. It can cause serious health issues and is most dangerous to infants, young children and the elderly.
Restaurants and other businesses around town closed, because they were unable to use town water for ice and cooking.
North Uxbridge Baptist Church and several Uxbridge businesses donated thousands of gallons of water to residents Monday.
One business, Uxbridge House of Pizza, remained open, but owner Adrian Bassim was forced to leave town to buy water to continue operations.
The schools were also closed on Monday, but will reopen Tuesday. School officials have been advised to tape off water fountains and provide hand sanitizer to students on their last day before summer vacation. Parents should send children to school with bottled water.
Town officials believe construction on Main Street, involving 100-year-old water mains, is to blame for the contamination.
The water department is adding chlorine to the town’s water and flushing the system to make the water safe again. In doing so, some residents are experiencing minimal water pressure.
The town will distribute free bottled water at the Department of Public Works beginning at 9 a.m., on Tuesday