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Wellesley College told to boil water after E.coli found in part of water system

The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a boil water advisory for four buildings on the Wellesley College campus, including a child care center, after E.coli was found in a portion of the school’s water system.

In a statement on the school’s website, college officials said the advisory for Fiske House, Weston Terrace Apartments, Page School, and the Wellesley Community Children’s Center was issued after the bacteria was found during a routine test of the water system:

We are currently flushing the system and will continue routine testing throughout the weekend.

We have already reached out to the affected residents of these buildings and we will keep the community informed as soon as the order is lifted. The health and safety of our College community remains our highest priority.

State authorities issued the warning on Friday, telling the campus community to boil water at the four buildings for a minute or use bottled water for drinking, food preparation, brushing teeth, and washing dishes until further notice. The state has also asked that all ice, uncooked foods, beverages, and formula made with the tap water on or after August 19 be discarded.

E.coli is a mostly harmless bacteria found in foods and the intestines of people and animals, according to the CDC. Some strains of the bacteria are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness including nausea, headaches, and diarrhea, which can be especially serious for infants, young children, people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly. Presence of the bacteria in the water indicates that the system may be contaminated with human or animal waste, the Department of Environmental Protection said in its advisory.

No illnesses have been reported, according to the college. The school is chlorinating, flushing, and sampling the area where the bacteria was found.

Water in all other locations on campus is safe to drink.

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The town of Wellesley issued a two-day boil water advisory in August 2014 after E.coli was found in a campus water storage tank. Three residents of the town fell ill after an outbreak of the bacteria in June 2013.

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