City addressing bacteria found in Holland wells

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 17, 2005

About 150 customers of the Holland Community Well System are being notified of coliform bacteria found in a routine water sample last month, but a spokesman for the city’s public utilities department said no risk was posed.

According to utilities director Al Moor, the bacteria was found Dec. 15. As required by regulations, four additional samples were taken Dec. 18 and Dec. 21, all of which came up negative for coliform bacteria.

Even though there was no emergency, &uot;we’re doing the proactive things we need to do and ensuring the water quality is what it needs to be,&uot; Moor said.

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The City of Suffolk has taken over 17 community well systems in the past year, assuming the Holland system in December. The Holland system is in the beginning states of a design and rebuild, Moore noted.

A letter was mailed to residents Thursday informing them of the situation, stating that no action was necessary on their part.

&uot;There was recently a violation of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) in the Holland Community Well System,&uot; the letter opened. &uot;Although this incident was not an emergency, as City of Suffolk customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we are doing to correct the situation.&uot;

The letter states that coliform bacteria are generally not harmful and naturally present in the environment. However, it is an indicator that other potentially harmful bacteria -such as fecal coliform or ecoli-may be present.

Since further sampling turned out negative, Moor said the Dec. 15 sample was possibly contaminated. Also, since the samples are taken from outdoor spigots that are not generally in use during the winter, the positive sampling may have been caused by sediment in the pipes, which likely disappeared after they were


The city’s letter also stated that people with severely compromised immune systems, infants and some elderly, may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General information and guidelines about drinking water can be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791, or online at www.epa.go/safewater/.

For more information, contact the city’s water quality laboratory at 255-2247, ext. 5.