Boil water alert lifted for 3 Bergen County towns after tests show E. coli

BERGEN COUNTY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A boil water alert has been lifted for three Bergen County towns after their water tested positive for E. coli.

Residents in Ridgewood, Wyckoff and Glen Rock received reverse 911 calls after a groundwater sample from a well showed traces of E. coli Tuesday.

The sample was analyzed before it went through the town's filtration system.

Local officials said the alert was out of an abundance of caution, and there was no E. coli outbreak.

"It appears that it's a highly unusual circumstance, something that hasn't happened in the past," said Ridgewood Mayor Susan Knudsen. "And I think before we speculate that there's any cracked casings or anything, we really need to know and investigate what went on and where this came from."

The alert advised that boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice. The alert also included the Valley Hospital, which is located in Ridgewood.

The Ridgewood school district said parents were notified and were asked to send in drinking water with their children.

Ridgewood Water said that the water source in question has been shut down and 4-log inactivation of viruses is being installed as treatment.

Here's what to do when your town has a boil water alert:

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

*Fecal indicators are microbes whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term health effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.*

The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice from their health care providers about drinking this water.
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