By Christina Calloway
Roosevelt County Water Co-op customers will remain under a “boil water advisory” until at least Monday morning, according to the cooperative’s manager.
The New Mexico Environment Department’s Drinking Water Bureau issued the advisory Friday morning after bacteriological contamination, E. coli, was detected in a routine monitoring sample.
The city’s water supply has not been contaminated and is safe for consumption after protocol called for city officials to test the city’s water, according to Public Works Director John DeSha.
The water cooperative serves 3,800 residents in Roosevelt County, and all of its customers are advised to boil any water that will be used for consumption for five minutes on the stove, according to General Manager Clarence Smith. He added the water is safe to bathe, shower and do laundry with.
Smith said workers have taken two tests at the locations the bad samples were detected at and will take two more. If the test come back clean, Smith said the boil advisory will be lifted by Monday.
“A cause has not been determined yet. We’re kind of befuddled,” Smith said about the E. coli contamination. “We haven’t had any open lines and haven’t made any recent repairs on the system.”
Morgan Nelson with the New Mexico Environment Department said E. coli is a natural occurring organism but because there are bad strains that could contain disease-causing organisms, he strongly encourages people take the necessary precautions to boil their water, especially if it will be consumed by children, the elderly and immuno-compromised individuals.
“Those individuals are generally more at risk of getting sick,” Nelson said.
Nelson added that though he can’t speak to the cause of this specific incident, E. coli contamination usually comes from the water supply coming in contact with sewage or animal waste.