Englewood lifts E. Coli water warning; says residents should flush faucets, appliances

Residents, businesses, health care facilities should take steps before using tap water, city says

Ellis Arnold
earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/6/21

Englewood has lifted the boil-water advisory it had issued in response to a positive E. coli test earlier in the week, the city announced just before noon on Aug. 6.

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Englewood lifts E. Coli water warning; says residents should flush faucets, appliances

Residents, businesses, health care facilities should take steps before using tap water, city says

Posted
Englewood has lifted the boil-water advisory it had issued in response to a positive E. coli test earlier in the week, the city announced just before noon on Aug. 6.
 
That means residents and businesses in the affected area — Zone 1, or north, northwest, central and southwest Englewood — can resume using tap water for all purposes, the city's announcement said.
 
“Before using the tap water, the City of Englewood advises customers to first throw out ice, flush faucets and flush other appliances to ensure removal of all potentially contaminated water,” the announcement said.
 
Throughout the emergency, the city has coordinated with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Tri-County Health Department to correct the problem, the announcement said.
 
What residents should do now 
 
According to the announcement, residents should do the following:
 
• Flush the plumbing in your home by running all cold water faucets for at least five minutes each. Begin with the lowest faucet in your home or business and then open the other faucets one at a time, moving from your lowest floor to your highest. After five minutes, turn off your faucets in reverse order, from highest to lowest. 
 
• Flush all appliances connected to the water line, such as refrigerators and dishwashers.  
 
• Disposable filters that have come in contact with contaminated water should be removed and replaced.  
 
• Ice from ice makers should be dumped and replaced three times. Ice maker containers should be wiped clean with a solution of two tablespoons bleach to one gallon of water. 
 
What businesses should do now 
 
According to the announcement, businesses, hospitals, health-care facilities and nursing homes should do the following:
 
• Make sure equipment with water line connections is flushed, cleaned and sanitized according to manufacturers' instructions. 
 
• Managers of large buildings with water-holding reservoirs should consult with their facility engineer and health department about draining the reservoir. 
 
• Flush pipes and faucets. Run cold water faucets continuously for at least five minutes. 
 
• Flush drinking fountains. Run water continuously for at least five minutes. 
 
• Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle. 
 
• Drain and refill water heaters set below 113°F. 
 
• Change all point-of-entry and point-of-use water filters, including those associated with equipment that uses water. 
 
• Resume usual bathing practices and care for patients with breaks in the skin. 
 
Timing of the advisory
 
The boil-water advisory was issued on Aug. 4 to people in Zone 1 because the presence of E. coli was confirmed in the water in a section of the city. News coverage from CBS4-KCNC had questioned why the boil-water advisory didn't come sooner. A state health official appeared to address that question in the announcement.
 
“Englewood followed the appropriate protocols and required regulatory processes that have been established for decades. On Aug. 2, the City of Englewood collected 11 water samples according to routine water-monitoring processes,” Ron Falco, safe drinking water program manager for the state public-health department, said in the announcement.
 
Sample results are available 24 hours after the test is performed, according to an earlier city statement.
 
“The lab provided results on Aug. 3 indicating E. coli at one sample location. So on Aug. 2 drinking water contamination was tentatively identified,” Falco said in the announcement. “Such tentative identification requires repeat sampling to confirm the situation, as single false-positive test results do occur. The city completed the repeat sampling process on Aug. 3. The results received on Aug. 4 confirmed the presence of E. coli in drinking water in the affected area (Zone 1), and that's when we issued the boil advisory.
 
“Based on these facts, i.e. one positive test result among so many negative test results, the city took the proper steps and conducted the public notice at the right time,” Falco added. 

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