Water dept. says water tests positive for E. coli; still safe to drink

The City of Bristol Water Department issued a press release last week announcing that recent samples from raw, untreated water at one of the city’s wells tested positive for E coli bacteria. The city said this wasn’t an emergency situation and the water is safe.

The release said, “Water to the city is supplied by our surface water system and also five wells located on Barlow, Mix and Mechanic Streets. Water from the Mix and Mechanic Street well fields only supplies the area located east of Route 229 and South of Maple Avenue. All other properties in the city are supplied by our surface water sources.”

The release explained that “to ensure the quality of our water meets or exceeds federal and state regulations, the Bristol Water Department tests on a regular basis both the raw (pretreated) water and the treated drinking water we supply to our customers.”

The release said samples of raw untreated water collected on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 from one of the wells at the Mix Street wellfield (Well #3) tested positive for Coliform and Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria.

The release from the water department said, “All water from our wells is treated and disinfected with chlorine before entering the distribution system, in order to eliminate bacteria. As a result of the presence of E. coli in our raw water, on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 we collected additional samples of the treated water from the distribution systems and test results found no Coliform or E. Coli bacteria in your drinking water. Your drinking water is safe to drink.”

“It is important for the public to know that prior to the water being treated, the Water Department also tests the raw water in our five (5) water supply wells for bacteria on a monthly basis” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu in the press release. “When E. coli bacteria are detected in the raw, untreated water, we are required by federal regulation to notify the public.”

“The Water Department has taken Well #3 out of service and it will remain out of service until we determine and correct the cause of the bacteria, stated Board of Water Commissioners Chairwomen Elizabeth Phelan in the press release. “We have reviewed this situation with the Health Director of the Bristol/Burlington Health District and the Department of Public Health Water Supply Section and they are in agreement with our action plan.”

“Again, your drinking water is safe to drink and this bacteria was found only in raw water prior to treatment,” Phelan said in the release.

“This was never an emergency situation and there is nothing that you need to do”, according to Superintendent Robert Longo, the release reported.

For more information, call (860)582-7431.