Bottled or Boiled?

Oct. 26, 2004

For residents and business owners in some parts of downtown Belchertown, MA tainted drinking water has become an issue. For the fifth day straight the community will have to use boiled or bottled water. Resulting from positive testing for the presence of total coliform bacteria in the town's water. Officials from the Belchertown Water District issued the boil-water order Thursday for an 18-street area.

Water samples taken Oct. 19 and 20 at Chestnut Hill, Cold Spring, Swift River and Belchertown High schools indicated the presence of total coliform bacteria.

The Water Commissioner, Gary L. Brougham was quoted as saying that, "As of yesterday afternoon, Belchertown High School's samples are the only ones still indicating bacteria are present."

People with weak immune systems can become sick when ingesting total coliform.

In order to lift the ban on the town's water, two negative tests for the bacteria are needed, in accordance with Department of Environmental Protection regulations. Results can take up to 24 hours. No conclusions have been drawn, by local or state officials, as to what initially caused the outbreak. After the formal lifting of the ban, town and state environmental officials will review how the bacteria could have entered the town's water system. The town's water is currently being chlorinated as precautionary steps.

Residents of Jackson, Main, South Main, East Walnut, Park, Cottage, Howard, Stadler, Jensen, Everett, Jabish, Maple, State, North Washington and Fuller streets, along with Johnson, Mill Valley and Springfield roads, should use bottled water or boil any water they plan to consume.

Residents should boil tap water for one minute and let it cool before drinking it, making ice, brushing teeth, hand-washing dishes and preparing food.

Source: The Republican