DPH Advises Customers of BroadKiln Beach, PrimeHook Water Companies to Boil Water After Samples Test Positive for E. coli Bacteria

UPDATE (July 24, 2018):

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Sussex County residents served by the Broadkiln Beach and PrimeHook water companies that the boil water notice issued on Friday, July 20, 2018 has been lifted. Affected consumers can immediately resume consumption and all uses of their tap water without having to boil it first.

Two sets of water samples collected from each water system have tested negative for the presence of Total Coliform and E. coli bacteria.

DPH contacted the operator of the water systems to notify them that the bacteria is no longer present and that the boil water notice has been lifted. Customers should receive a notice directly from their respective water companies alerting them that boiling their drinking water is no longer necessary before use.

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has advised the operator of Broadkiln Beach Water Company located in Sussex County to issue a boil water notice to customers after water samples collected from the system tested positive for the presence of E. coli bacteria on Friday, July 20. Because the Broadkiln Beach Water Company shares a connection with PrimeHook Water Company, anyone who uses drinking water from either system should not drink the water without boiling it first.

Consumers are advised to bring the water to a boil (212 degrees F), let it boil for a minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills the bacteria and other organisms in the water. It is safe to use the water for bathing/showering and for washing clothes.

The water system operator is required by state law to notify all consumers of the contamination and the boil water notice. The well and the distribution system are currently being disinfected and flushed, and a chlorine treatment system has been put in place by the system operator. The DPH Office of Drinking Water (ODW) will alert the water system operator when bacteria is no longer present, and the public will be informed when boiling water is no longer needed.

E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, and people with severely compromised immune systems. The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, contact your health care provider. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example following heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.

For more information about E. coli, visit http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/ecolifaq.pdf or https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/disease/e_coli.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.