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Pittsboro reports E. Coli in its water supply

By Renee Dickson
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2004

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The Chatham County Public Health Department has been advised that the Town of Pittsboro notified the North Carolina Division of Public Water of results from routine water sampling indicating the presence of E.coli/fecal coliform bacteria in the town's water supply. Water samples are taken from random locations on a routine basis to fulfill state public water rules. As required, the Town of Pittsboro will be conducting a door-to-door notification of customers advising them to boil water for cooking and drinking. The Pittsboro Water System supplies 3300 customers, including 113 residences in the Bynum area that are on the county water system. The bacteria was isolated from one sampling point in the city supply and the health department has been advised that the Town of Pittsboro is collecting additional samples, increasing disinfectant in the supply and flushing the system.

The presence of E. coli bacteria 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, and people with severely compromised immune systems.

The public health department recommends that Pittsboro's water supply customers take the following precautions until the notice is lifted.

* Use purchased bottled water or water boiled for 5 minutes for drinking and food preparation.
* Discard raw fruits and vegetables previously prepared in unboiled water.
* Do not drink directly from water fountains or coolers.
* Use boiled water for manual dishwashing.
* Use boiled/bottled water for brushing teeth.
* Use boiled/bottled water to make ice. If you have an icemaker, discard ice and turn off the unit until further notification.
* Use commercially prepared baby formula. Discard formula already prepared with water from the faucet.

Questions regarding the water system can be directed to the Town Hall at 542-4621 or the Water Department at 542-3530.

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Pittsboro reports E. Coli in its water supply

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