Health

Boil water order issued for 4 Mass. towns after E. coli detection

Be sure to use bottled or boiled water for everything — even brushing your teeth!

Four towns on the South Coast of Massachusetts are under a boil water order after E. coli was detected in their water source.

The Mattapoisett River Valley Water District sent out the order on Wednesday, saying it was notified of the positive E. coli results in routine samples collected Tuesday, WCVB reported. The boil water order affects Mattapoisett, Fairhaven, Rochester, and Marion.

Per the order, any ice, drinks, formula, and uncooked foods prepared with water on or before Tuesday should be discarded, WCVB reported. The district has begun temporary chlorination of the water and will flush the system over the next few days. More samples will be collected Thursday, and residents will be informed when tests show no E. coli is present.

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In the meantime, food establishments must boil water for five minutes, and any large volumes of water should be boiled for five minutes. Smaller volumes can be boiled for at least a minute.

Since E. coli bacteria can cause illness — including severe stomach cramps and digestive discomfort — and cause more serious infection in immune-compromised people, residents should be careful to only consume boiled or bottled water.

For example, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, only use boiled or bottled water for:

  • drinking
  • food preparation
  • mixing baby formula
  • making ice
  • washing food
  • manual utensil and equipment washing, rinsing and sanitizing
  • brushing teeth
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