BRATTLEBORO -- Putney residents who are hooked up to the town water system need to boil their water before drinking it.
According to a press release from the town manager, total coliform bacteria were found in the water supply on Aug. 14 and 16. While the bacteria are generally not harmful themselves, they indicate other bacteria which can make people sick may be in the water. These bacteria are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems, infants and some elderly people.
It is important to stress that this is not E. Coli.
Before drinking the water, residents are urged to bring it to a boil for at least one minute. In the alternative, bottled water can be used until further testing, scheduled for three times next week, can confirm whether the water is once again safe to drink.
"We should be able to lift the boil by the end of next week," said Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard. "Again, the level of risk is extremely low, but boiling will eliminate 100 percent of the risk."
Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and in food preparation until further notice.
The level of contamination is very low, and Simon Operations, which maintains the system, has already started disinfecting by activating the chlorine feed pump.
Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source, for example, following heavy
General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.