Elida’s water not safe

PNT Staff Report

The New Mexico Environment Department advised the town of Elida to issue a “boil water alert” Saturday, after bacteriological contamination that exceeded the maximum contaminant level for E. coli was discovered, according to a press release issued by the department Wednesday.

Most strains of E. coli live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals and can be harmless, according to the release.

A positive test for E. coli in the drinking water supply may indicate the presence of a dangerous strain of E. coli, or another disease causing organism, that is sometimes found in sewage and animal wastes. Severe gastrointestinal illness, and in rare cases, death can occur. Immuno-compromised individuals, children and the elderly are at an increased risk for the illness, said the press release.

Elida residents on the water system have been notified to boil their water for five minutes before using it for dishwashing, drinking or cooking, according to the press release.

Elida mayor Kay Nuckols said that notices of the contamination had been posted, indicating that the chlorine level was low. Since the notice, frequent testing has taken place. The lines have also been “shocked”, or flushed out with a disinfectant. The storage tanks have been “shocked” twice and the storage tank at the well site once, she said.

Water has not been hauled into the residences, though bottled water was brought into the school, along with paper cups and hand sanitizer, said Nuckols.

Elida is working toward obtaining funding, with the sponsorship of Roosevelt County, in the form of a Community Development Block Grant, to update their water system, according to earlier PNT articles. Consideration of that grant is expected in the 2007 legislative session.