The City of Great Bend public water supply system violated a drinking water microbiological standard for total coliforms in its distribution system during September 2010, said Donald Craig, director of public works. Although this is not an emergency, you as customers have a right to know what happened and what is being done to correct the situation.
"We routinely monitor for the presence of total coliform bacteria in our drinking water 15 times a month tested in 15 different zones," Craig said.
"This is not an Emergency." Total coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves. Coliforms are bacteria which are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other; potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present.
Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed and this was a warning of potential problems, the director said. Usually coliforms are a sign that there could be a problem with the treatment or distribution systems (pipes). "Whenever we detect coliform bacteria in any sample, we do follow-up testing to see if other bacteria of greater concern, such as fecal coliform or E. coli, are present. We are retesting each site and two sites near each location and may increase the number of routine samples for at least the next month."
Craid said residents do not need to boil their water or take other corrective actions. However, those with specific health concerns should consult their doctor.
People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, following heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.
"Some corrective actions we have taken or are considering may include doing follow-up sampling, checking chlorine residuals on the distribution system, flushing lines if needed, and continuing investigation to find the source of contamination."
For information regarding this notice, please contact Craig at 620-793-4150.