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News > Coliform bacteria in base water resolved
Coliform bacteria in base water resolved

Posted 10/22/2013   Updated 10/22/2013 Email story   Print story


by 66th Air Base Group Civil Engineering

10/22/2013 - 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. Maximum Contaminant Levels, or MCLs, for microbiological contaminants for a system which collects fewer than 40 routine samples per month; if not more than one sample collected during a month is total coliform-positive, the system is in compliance with the MCL for total coliform. Fifteen samples collected in September 2013 were total coliform-positive, so the system is out of compliance with the MCL for the total coliform.

What should I do?

· You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. However, if residents 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. 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 system's 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.

What happened? What is being done?

Civil Engineering flushed 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.

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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