Boil water alert lifted for Socorro e.coli contamination
Breaking: boil water advisory lifted
According to Dixie Daniels with the City of Socorro's water department, the boil water advisory that was issued on July 16th is being lifted as of 11:45 a.m. on Monday, July 19th.
Initial tests indicated a possible problem
According to Ms. Daniels, the alert was triggered when routine water testing at several Socorro residences indicated that one residence tested positive for total coliform bacteria (but negative for e.coli - there are a variety of strains of coliform bacteria in addition to e.coli). Additional tests at Socorro's water sources, the city's five wells, indicated the presence of e.coli in Sedillo Springs Well's water, pre-treatment, although it was negative post-treatment.
Re-tests show water supply should be safe
As a result of the initial tests which indicated contamination, recent legislative requirements, enacted in December of 2009, dictate that a boil water advisory must be issued until further tests are conclusive as to the water supply's safety. Independent consultants must be called in, to avoid any question of bias from local officials, in order to confirm the data and perform followup testing. Due to the fact that the positive tests were discovered late on Friday, July 16th, it was difficult to get these outside experts immediately. From Saturday through today, Monday July 19th, such outside consultants were busy testing Socorro's water, to ascertain whether we should remain on a boil water advisory. After re-testing at the homes in which the initial total coliform test showed a positive result, the results were negative. Further tests at Sedillo Springs appeared acceptable also. Thus, the boil advisory is being lifted.
Socorro water is chlorinated
As Ms. Daniels noted, Socorro's water supply is chlorinated with 1.5 milligrams of chlorine per liter of water at the source. This is well above the levels needed to kill most bacteria, including e.coli, according to Daniels. Daniels also noted that, as a result of this event, Socorro will be purchasing equipment to monitor, in real time, the chlorine concentrations of its treated water.
Official press release
The New Mexico Environment Department has issued the following press release (pdf file).
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