BERKELEY – Homes and businesses serviced by the Berkeley Township MUA are being urged to boil their water after E. Coli bacteria was found.
A sample was taken on July 14 which tested positive for E. Coli, officials said. On July 16, three samples were taken. Two tested negative for total coliform and E. Coli and one tested positive for total coliform and negative for E. Coli.
E. Coli can cause stomach issues and diarrhea, according to the Mayo Clinic. The very young, the very old, or those with weakened immune systems may have much worse symptoms. It enters water systems through groundwater contaminated by human or animal waste.
The message from the Berkeley MUA noted that this kind of contamination can occur after heavy rains like we’ve had recently, because the water run-off enters the drinking water source. Breaks in the distribution system or failures in the treatment process are possible causes, and officials are investigating to see if that was the case here.
What Do I Do?
All drinking water must be boiled for at least one minute, and people should let it cool before using it. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in water.
Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, preparing food and for pets until further notice.
You may notice minor symptoms such as cramps, nausea, headaches, and diarrhea. If you have severe symptoms, such as diarrhea with blood, seek medical attention.
What Is Being Done?
The BTMUA will be conducting a comprehensive assessment of the water system, as well as the monitoring and operational practices to identify and correct the cause of the contamination.
The BTMUA will let residents know when testing shows no more bacteria, meaning that it will then be safe to stop boiling water. They anticipate that it will be resolved within 30 days.
For more information, customers are asked to call Brian Blair at 732-237-0100. The Environmental Protection Agency has a safe drinking water hotline at 800-426-4791.
The BTMUA noted a few times that the drinking water advisory is not related to COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, the virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies and the risk to transmission by drinking water is low.