Portland, Ore., water supply contaminated by E. Coli
By Phyllis Stark. CREATED May 23, 2014
The Portland Water Bureau is advising the city’s residents to boil all tap water used for drinking, tooth brushing, food preparation and ice for the time being after E. Coli bacteria was found in two of the city’s reservoirs.
The Oregonian reports, “Officials will flush 9 million gallons of drinking water from one of the city's famous Mt. Tabor open-air reservoirs after state health officials mandated a citywide water boil on Friday morning in response to positive tests for fecal matter … Routine tests performed by water staffers starting on Tuesday led to the discovery of fecal matter in Reservoirs 1 and 5 at Mt. Tabor.”
State and county health officials are saying the contamination doesn’t pose a significant health risk, but they are urging caution anyway.
The city performs about 240 tests a month on the water supply, the Oregonian reports. Additionally, “Portland is in the process of finishing two covered reservoir construction projects … a response to federal requirements to end the use of open-air reservoirs.”
Portland’s open air reservoirs made headlines a little more than a month ago when a teenager was caught on video urinating into one of them.
Additional tests on the water supply are planned on Friday, and officials hope to know whether the boil alert could be lifted by 8 a.m. on Saturday.