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Latest water test results: September tests, positive for coliform only

The State is requiring Routine bacteriological testing once per month. Additional repeat testing is done as required by OHA.

The routine water test taken on September 2nd was positive for coliform but negative for E. coli. Repeat  tests at 6 locations, the three springs and three locations in the distribution system, were taken on September 8th and were also postive for coliform but all were negative for E. coli.

We continue to seek advice from and follow directions from our State and County regulatory agencies.

Each sample is submitted to a state-certified laboratory and checked for the presence of coliform bacteria and E. coli bacteria.  If the test is negative for both, it is reported as "total coliform absent".  If coliform bacteria  are detected, it is reported as "total coliform positive" and then the presence or absence of E. coli is also reported.  Most often, even if total coliform is positive, E. coli remains absent.  

A positive total coliform test indicates that a source of contamination may exist either in the distribution system or at the water source.  This can result from leaks in the distribution system, backflow from a customer's pipes, surface water getting into a water source, etc.  A positive E. coli test indicates not only a possible source of contamination, but the presence of fecal bacteria from animals or humans.  The strain of E. coli is rarely, if ever, a disease-causing (enteropathogenic) strain.  But it indicates there may be a risk of transmission of fecally-transmitted disease, whether bacterial or viral.  In either case, follow-up samples are required.

This district submits its routine tests in rotation from three established sites in our community distribution system.  If total coliform is detected, the presence or absence of E. coli is also reported.  After a positive test, samples from all three community sites and all sources in use (usually two of our three springs) must be submitted.  Confirmed postive tests are investigated by Lincoln County Environmental Health to identify possible causes and remedial actions.

If E. coli is detected, and if any of the follow-up samples also show E. coli, a boil water notice must be issued until effective remedial action has been demonstrated.