City of Burlington issues boil water notice after E.coli found in water system; ‘significant decaying insect, organic matter’ blocked pipe

Piedmont Triad News

BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — The City of Burlington on Thursday afternoon issued a boil water notice after E.coli/fecal coliform bacteria were found at a specific location in the city’s water system.

The city says the bacteria were discovered on Wednesday during routine water sampling, and the boil water advisory remains in effect.

“Even though, the presence of the bacteria does not appear to be widespread, due to Federal and State regulations and out of an abundance of caution, City of Burlington water customers should boil their drinking water until further notice,” the city said in a news release.

City of Burlington water customers include:

  • Town of Elon
  • Town of Gibsonville
  • Town of Whitsett
  • Town of Haw River
  • Town of Ossipee
  • Village of Alamance

While replacing the pipe, crews found significant decaying insect and organic matter which created a partial blockage inside, according to the City of Burlington.

This is likely the source of the contamination. After the pipe was replaced, the pipe, the plumbing to the apartment and the service line to the apartment building were flushed, chlorinated and then flushed again.

Water samples from the spigot, inside the apartment and the service line were tested last night, and officials are awaiting results. Officials say, “at this point it is a waiting game.”

“The City of Burlington has increased its bacteriological sampling throughout the city water system. The water mains are being flushed in the affected area. Every effort is being made to resolve this issue,” the release said.

E.coli/fecal coliform bacteria can cause illness and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. 

City of Burlington water customers will be notified when tests show no bacteria. The city expects the issue will be resolved within two days.

The City of Greensboro has isolated and tested its water system and is not under a boil water notice. 

The City of Greensboro released the following statement on the situation:

“Due to a City of Burlington water system issue, the City of Greensboro’s Water Resources Department closed the drinking water interconnect between the two cities earlier today. Field adjustments were performed to supply the southeast area of Greensboro with water from Greensboro’s water treatment plants.

“Residents in the area may see some discoloration in the water. If so, they are urged to run the cold water for several minutes until it clears. According to Water Resources officials, the discoloration poses no health issues and is the result of flow reversal in the lines during source transition. If discoloration persists after several minutes of flushing, please call Water Resources 24-hour contact center at 336-373-2033 to report discoloration.

“Water Resources staff have performed water quality sampling in the affected area to ensure that the water is safe to drink.”

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