P/sunny
86°
P/sunny
Hi 87° | Lo 61°

Windsor Extends Water Boil Order

Windsor — A boil water order that was issued after bacteria was found in the town’s water supply has been extended after follow-up samples taken Monday and Tuesday continued to test positive for total coliform, Town Manager Tom Marsh said Wednesday.

The positive tests extend the order through at least Friday, and quite likely into next week, Marsh said.

“People should be prepared for the weekend,” Marsh said. “Take the boiling seriously. It’s certainly a precaution but it’s something that should be followed.”

It takes three consecutive days of negative tests to lift the order, which was issued Monday after standard testing of the town’s water system detected total coliform in the water supply. The Vermont Department of Health defines coliform as a family of bacteria common in soils, plants and animals.

The second positive test from a sample taken Tuesday came after Windsor began treating the water system with chlorine, which will be added to the water system until the issue is resolved, Marsh said.

While the boil order has been extended, the town does have a better idea of the source of the contamination.

The town has determined that a rubber gasket put around a pipe at a pump house was the culprit in Monday’s positive coliform test, Marsh said. When the gasket was removed and the site retested Tuesday, it was negative. The pump house is located off State Street and a water sample taken from it was part of the original sample that tested positive for coliform.

The town thinks the Tuesday water sample that tested positive came from a faucet in the industrial park that transfers water into a water tank that is then distributed through the system, Marsh said. The faucet will be taken apart and cleaned before another sample is taken. Marsh said it is likely that a sample taken from the faucet site on Wednesday prior to the cleaning also will test positive for coliform.

There is also a possibility the coliform is related to the heavy rain the region has experienced this summer, as storm water has pooled in places where it could seep into the water system’s pipes.

The last time Windsor’s water supply tested positive for coliform was in 2010, Marsh said. It happened after leaves had been left in pipes that were being replaced. After the pipe was flushed of the leaves, the problem went away.

The Vermont Department of Health defines coliform as “a family of bacteria common in soils, plants and animals.”

One group of coliform is fecal coliform, which includes E. coli. E. coli was not detected in any of the Windsor water samples tested.

Meanwhile, Windsor Diner owner Theresa Taylor said the restaurant is coping.

“We have all paper plates and paper products,” Taylor said. “It’s making it a little easier because we can’t use the dishwater.”

The diner has been buying bottled water by the gallon for coffee and food prep. Boiled water is being used primarily for dish washing purposes.

“We’re probably boiling about 30 gallons of water a day,” Taylor said.

“It’s a bit of a pain,” said owner Mark Taylor.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3305.