| MetroWest Daily News
NATICK – The town’s drinking water is safe after two rounds of water samples showed not traces of E. coli contamination.
Town officials announced the news early Friday night.
“I’ll breathe a little sigh of relief here,” said Acting Town Administrator Robert Rooney.
What caused the contamination is still under investigation, Rooney said.
A statement from the Natick Public Works department assured residents the water is safe to drink, and no further treatment or flushing in homes and businesses is unnecessary,
The contamination was discovered Tuesday in routine water samples of the Elm Bank well, and in nine of the 12 sites in the town’s water distribution system. Natick’s water is treated before it enters the distribution system.
A boil water order had been in place, required by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Residents were told not to drink tap water without boiling it for at least one minute, or use bottled water.
E. coli bacteria are found in the environment, foods and intestines of people and animals. Some strains are harmless. Others can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia.
A DEP spokesman told the Daily News possible sources of E. coli contamination, based on historical cases in the state, include flooding that washes into a well or well head. Birds or animals that fall into a town’s water-storage tank are another potential source.
Rooney said town officials were also looking at the possibility that the original samples were contaminated while in route to the lab, or whether equipment at the lab was contaminated and reached the samples.
Once a water system returns to normal after a contamination, the DEP spokesman said it’s routine for a community to flush out the entire water system in order to increase disinfection that kills bacteria.
Henry Schwan is a multimedia journalist for the Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-626-3964. Follow him on Twitter @henrymetrowest.