Irrigation water is the likely source of an E. coli contamination in Franklin City’s water source, according to city officials.
One of the springs used by the city to provide culinary water to its citizens “appears to have surface water impacting it,” said Brian Tolbert, who manages the system for the city. The contaminant was identified Sunday with the help of the city of Richmond, Mayor Todd Hawkes said.
State agencies were not open until Monday.
However, the city officials feel that the city’s culinary water also had enough chlorine in it to render the E. coli ineffective, the mayor said.
Because the state agency was not open, the results identifying E. coli were not certified, so the city decided to “err on the side of caution” and issue the boil order, he said.
Tolbert said he turned the source out of the city’s system, flushed the system, and the boil order was issued.
Since Sunday evening, residents were being told to use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth and other household uses in which water is consumed. In lieu of bottled water, officials warned water should not be ingested without boiling it first for at least one minute.
A new water sample was taken to the Idaho Department of Water Quality first thing Monday morning, and test results may be available by the end of the day, but are not expected for 24 hours, said city administrator Tami Midzinski.
The public will be notified as soon as they city is, she said.