Portland, OR | On May 23, 2014, the State of Oregon Health Authority issued a Boil Water Order, due to testing positive for E. coli in several water samples in multiple locations over a three-day period.
A routine samples of water tested positive for bacteria at the outlet of Reservoir 5 on Mount Tabor came back positive for total coliform and E. coli on May 23, 2014.
Additional routine samples from the outlet of Reservoir 1 at Mount Tabor on May 20 and at SE 2nd and Salmon on May 21, were also positive for total coliform and E. coli.
Follow-up samples collected from Reservoir 1 and SE 2nd Ave and Salmon St. were negative for total coliform and E. coli .
“While we believe at this time that the potential health risk is relatively small, we take any contamination seriously and are taking every precaution to protect public health,” said Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff.
In consultation with health officials, there is a potential public health risk as a result of the detections.
Total coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water is contaminated with human or animal wastes.
The bacteria found were E.coli. The presence of these bacteria in drinking water indicates fecal contamination. Water that tests positive for these bacteria may contain potentially pathogenic organisms and would be risky to drink without first boiling for one minute.
This Order affects customers with Portland Water Bureau and all Regional Water Providers, essentially inconveniencing up to a million people according to various sources.
During an order, all water used in food preparation/cooking, drinking, brushing teeth and ice should be boiled at least one minute. Any un-boiled water after May 20th should be discarded.
Have questions about the Boil Water Order? You can contact the Health Department directly at 503-823-7770, or go to their link at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/boilwaternotice/address.
Other additional Water Providers affected:
- Burlington Water District
- City of Gresham (North of I-84)
- Lake Grove Water District
- Lorna Portland Water
- Palatine Hill Water District
- Rockwood Water District
- Tigard Water Service Area (including Durham, King City and Bull Mountain)
- Valley View Water District
- West Slope Water District
The Portland Water Bureau collects approximately 240 routine bacterial samples per month throughout the system. The test to determine the presence of bacteria takes about 18 hours. It is not unusual for one of these samples to test positive for bacteria. Samples to confirm possible contamination are collected immediately after an initial detection of the presence of bacteria in drinking water. Once the detection has been confirmed, public health officials recommend that the public boil all tap water before consuming.
Contamination can occur when there is a loss of water pressure, a pipe breaks, or conditions that expose drinking water to outside elements. The Portland Water Bureau is performing a full investigation to identify the cause of the contamination.
However, it is not always possible to make an exact determination.
A new water sample is scheduled for 1000 hours this morning.
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