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Great Barrington Fire District issues boil water alert

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By Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 News 12

Update: the order has been lifted. Click here for the full story.

Great Barrington –– Attention Great Barrington Fire District customers. Do not drink your water without boiling it first. A fecal indicator, E. coli, was detected in a water sample collected from the source sample tap on Tuesday April 9, 2019. The District was notified of the result on Wednesday April 10, 2019. Treated water, however, has not tested positive, officials say.

The following notice was issued by the Fire District:

Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, 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 viruses in the water. Discard ice, juice, formula and food that were prepared using tap water collected on or before Tuesday April 9, 2019.

Fecal indicators are microbes 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. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. If you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.

The Fire District does provide chlorine disinfectant and had no total coliform or E.coli in samples from the distribution system. The chlorine residual was measured at 0.78 mg/L. The District is conducting more tests and assessments. You will be informed when the boil water order is lifted or when new information is available.

In a brief Edge interview, Walter “Buddy” Atwood III, who chairs the fire district’s Prudential Committee, said the district’s water is tested “almost daily” and the positive result for E.coli was detected in the district’s “raw water” tank, which contains water from the source before it is treated.

Atwood said additional testing was performed today and that results will come back tomorrow. He said the problem might be a false positive from the testing end.

“We hope to have much better news tomorrow,” Atwood said.

For more information, see full Public Notices at Great Barrington Fire District website: www.greatbarringtonwater.org or contact The Great Barrington Fire District at (413) 528-0133.

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12 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Steve Farina says:

    “Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. ”
    – convenient 1L bottles can still be purchased at some stores in town…
    Please show up at the ATM and vote to repeal the water bottle ban.

    1. Alex says:

      There are literally so many options for bottled water. I don’t think anyone is running to the store in search of small, single serving water bottles due to this boil order. The water bottle ban has absolutely no effect in a situation like this.

      1. Mike says:

        Alex, by 6:15 the entire aisle containing water was totally wiped out clean at Price Chopper in GB. Took a ride down to Big Y ( just out of curiosity) and every person ( not exaggerating ) had bottles and jugs of water in their carts.
        Not trying to make this political, the only point I am trying to make is they were running to the store.

      2. Alex says:

        @mike. I wasn’t saying that people weren’t running to the store for water, only that they weren’t running there for single, small bottles of water. My comment was in response to a political comment. My point was that people were still able to get the water that they need, because if you need water, you don’t buy s single bottle. You buy a case or a larger jug.

      3. Steve Farina says:

        Perhaps this instance doesn’t require 1L bottles for you, however, there are many in our community who cannot physically handle gallon containers.

      4. Chris P says:

        Alex, contrary to your statement, one cannot “buy a case” of water in the town of Great Barrington.

      5. Paul Benjou says:

        So much for filling stations that can potentially serve up tainted water. So there are no contingency options in the ban the bottle plan? Poor planning.

  2. Jerry says:

    This is the kind of thing that could get us downgraded to plain Barrington.

    As for the bottled water, 1 gallon jugs are more cost effective that teeny bottles and are going to be available indefinitely.

  3. John says:

    Housatonic water company is looking pretty good now!
    Maybe GB can tie into HWC water for a while?

    I would suggest all those water stations be dissembled, sterilized as they are now potentially dispensaries of dysentery

    1. Tom Blauvelt says:

      What water stations are you referring too?

  4. Steve Farina says:

    Anyone know why the notice says to discard things going back to Nov 14, 2018 if there is “almost daily” testing?

  5. Joseph Method says:

    If you read between the lines it sounds like they’re saying that there’s not an actual issue but DEP requires them to overreact.

    As for the bottled water discussion, why not just… boil your water?

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