Coliform found in water leads to boil order for Ft. Pearce Industrial Park area of St. George
ST. GEORGE, Utah — A drinking water warning and boil order has been issued for the Ft. Pearce Industrial Park area of St. George and the immediate vicinity Sunday afternoon after water samples were found to contain fecal coliform bacteria.
According to a press release from the City of St. George, fecal coliform bacteria was found in the water distribution system at the industrial park, and as such the park and businesses and residents in the immediate area are being asked to use bottled water or to boil their water before drinking until further notice.
Marc Mortensen, Support Services Director, tells FOX 13 News the industrial park is south of the Bloomington Hills residential area and it begins roughly in the area where Brigham Road and River Road intersect. He said the area under the boil order contains mostly businesses of an industrial or manufacturing nature, and he said there were “maybe five” or so residences impacted by the boil order.
Mortensen said because it is Sunday, many of the hundreds of businesses out at the industrial park are closed. He said they have people out knocking on doors to notify businesses, and notices are being posted on the doors of those that are closed.
The coliform was found to be isolated to a single sampling station. Samples taken outside the area, including in Bloomington Hills and Bloomington, show no signs of contamination, according to the press release. Mortensen stressed that they have taken numerous samples from the surrounding areas and are convinced the contamination is an isolated event.
The contaminated sample station has been replaced and flushed. Chlorine has been used to disinfect the system, and post-treatment samples are being tested for presence of bacteria.
The chlorine used to disinfect the system exceeded maximum residual disinfection levels, and officials warn that those who used water in excess of MRDL could suffer irritation to their eyes and nose, as well as stomach discomfort among any who drank the water. The chlorine levels, however, have since dropped backed down to normal operating levels.
The cause of the contamination is unknown at this time and is being investigated. Mortensen said it has been “decades” since they last had a positive test in a water system like this, and he said the fecal matter could have come from a human or animal source and they are investigating to determine what happened.
The city has already sent a second batch of samples post-treatment to be tested, and Mortensen said it his hope those samples will come back with negative results and that they will be able to lift the boil order by Monday evening.
The press release states: “For more information residents and businesses can contact the City of St. George Water Services Department at 435-627-4800 Mon.-Fri. 8am – 5pm. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or online at www.deq.utah.gov.“