Tests performed on Great Bend water in September found e. coli and total coliform bacteria. However, a second set of "repeat" samples all tested negative, city Water Department officials said. They will continue the required routine testing.
"Everything is good," said Charlie Suchy, Great Bend utility superintendent. "There is nothing to worry about."
Even so, although not required by the state at this time, residents may wish to boil the water before drinking it. According to health officials, the bacteria can make one sick, and are a particular concern for infants, young children, and people with severely compromised immune systems, and boiling for one minute kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
Residents may chose to use bottled water.
Nonetheless, corrective actions taken by the City of Great Bend included verifying adequate chlorination, flushing the system if necessary, make any needed repairs to the system if needed and continue the required repeat sampling until we were free of coliform bacteria and continue the State required sampling in the system 15 times a month.
Suchy said the earlier positive sample came from an individual residents, and was not indicative of the water system as a whole.
Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms.
The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If one experiences any of these symptoms and they persist, they may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
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.
For more information, contact Suchy at 62-793-4150.
General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-(800)-426-4791.