E. coli found in Johnson Utilities water; residents warned to boil water

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by Marcy McMacken

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 22 at 2:23 PM

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- Johnson Utilities is telling its customers to boil their water because traces of E. coli has been found in it.

The company sent a memo to the Florence Unified School District stating that E. coli, which is a bacteria that can make people sick if ingested, was found in their water on Aug. 16. 

The memo said that 75 additional follow-up samples collected on Monday did not show any E. coli bacteria, but one sample still tested positive for the presence of total coliform bacteria. More follow-up tests are being done.

The utility company said it will notify residents and businesses when tests no longer show E. coli in its water supply. Until then, residents and business owners are being told to boil their water or use an alternative water source, such as bottled water.

According to the memo, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

Johnson Utilities has sent three resamples to their state approved laboratory. The results are expected back on Thursday. Johnson Utilities will keep their warnings in effect until their resamples return negative.

"The safety of our customers is our first concern. Our families live in our service area and consume the same water as our other valued customers. We will take whatever measures are necessary to assure Johnson Utilities' water is safe and that we have complied with federal and state law," said Greg Brown, vice president of operations for Johnson Utilities.

E. coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. It may pose a special health risk for infants, young children and people with severely compromised immune systems.

To read Johnson Utilities' full release click here.

Customers with questions can call Johnson Utilities at 480-987-9870.

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