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News > Tests determine coliform bacteria in base water
Tests determine coliform bacteria in base water

Posted 9/12/2013   Updated 9/12/2013 Email story   Print story


66th Air Base Group Civil Engineering

9/12/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- The base water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this is not an emergency, as customers, base personnel have a right to know what happened, what personnel should do, and what civil engineers are doing to correct this situation.

Civil Engineering routinely monitors for the presence of drinking water contaminants. The period of Aug. 1 through Sept. 9, 58 samples for coliform bacteria were collected. Thirty nine of those samples showed the presence of coliform bacteria. The standard is that no more than 1 sample per month may do so.

What should I do?

· You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. However, if personnel have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.

· 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 guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

What does this mean?

This is not an emergency. If it had been you would have been notified immediately. Total coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves. Coliforms are bacteria which are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other potentially-harmful bacteria may be present. Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed and this was a warning of potential problems.

Usually, coliforms are a sign that there could be a problem with the treatment or distribution system, such as pipes. When Civil Engineers detect coliform bacteria in a sample, follow-up tests for other bacteria of greater concern, such as fecal coliform or E. coli, are present. No other bacteria were found in subsequent testing. Had any other bacteria been found, Civil Engineering would have notified base personnel immediately. Civil Engineering officials continue to find coliforms in the drinking water.

What happened? What is being done?

Civil Engineering has continued to flush the water lines in the affected area to move the water through a non-residential part of the water system. After the lines were flushed, the water was re-sampled and results were negative on Hanscom Proper. However, tests still detect coliform bacteria at the FamCamp. Civil Engineering will inform base personnel once sampling shows no bacteria as being present.

For more information, please contact Staff Sgt. James Caruso at 781-225-6366 or james.caruso@hanscom.af.mil.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly. You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

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