A boil-water advisory remained in effect late Saturday for customers of Roosevelt County Water Co-Op, officials said.
“They’re still doing the required testing,” Portales Public Works Director John DeSha said. “Two consecutive samples must come back clean before the advisory is lifted and they take 24 hours apiece. The soonest we will know anything (new) is late Sunday.”
The New Mexico Environment Department’s Drinking Water Bureau issued the advisory Thursday after E. coli bacteriological contamination was detected in a routine monitoring sample.
The advisory doesn’t affect any city of Portales water customers. Portales water was tested Friday and no bacteria was found, according to DeSha and state environment officials.
The city of Portales supplies water to the Roosevelt County Water Co-op, which serves about 3,800 residents, according to DeSha.
DeSha said Portales water is routinely tested before it is sent to the co-op.
“We provide them with a treated water,” said DeSha. “They test the water 10 times a month, and there were no dirty tests from Portales. The dirty tests came after the water was already delivered to the Roosevelt County Water Co-op, so the contamination had to have come from them.
“If there was an actual contamination, it came from their system not ours,” said DeSha.
Efforts to reach Roosevelt County Co-op General Manager Clarence Smith weren’t successful on Saturday.
Smith said Friday a source of the contamination hadn’t been detected.
Smith said the boil-water advisory means that residents should boil for at least five minutes any water that will be consumed. The water is safe for bathing and laundry needs without boiling, he said.
Morgan Nelson with the New Mexico Environment Department said he can’t speak to the cause but E. coli contamination usually comes from the water supply coming in contact with sewage or animal waste.