West Baltimore forced to boil water after E.coli found



Parts of Baltimore City and Baltimore and Howard counties were scoured Tuesday after officials found E. coli bacteria in West Baltimore’s water supply.

During routine testing Friday, the Baltimore Department of Public Works found the bacteria in samples collected from the Sandtown-Winchester and Harlem Park communities, the department tweeted Sunday.

“We are confident that the positive results are not due to the performance of the water treatment plants, which are operating as required,” DPW tweeted, adding that the issue was not related to wastewater treatment.

DPW is trying to find the source of the contamination and is continually flushing the system to refill the water supply and is ramping up chlorination in the affected area, it said in a statement.

The recommendation to boil water comes as 150,000 Jackson, Miss. residents are indefinitely without safe drinking water, in part due to severe flooding that caused a water treatment plant to fail amid inadequate infrastructure.

Life in a city without water: “It’s unbearable”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in a tweet late Monday that he received a briefing on the contamination from the State Department of the Environment, which is assisting Baltimore City officials.

Although E. coli was only detected in samples collected from locations in West Baltimore, the city extended the boiling water recommendation to parts of Baltimore and Howard counties as a precautionary measure. Areas affected in southwest Baltimore County include Arbutus, Halethorpe and Lansdowne.

The city has released a map of the affected area.

In West Baltimore alone, about 1,500 homes and businesses — from Riggs Avenue to the north, Casey Street to the east, West Franklin Street to the south and Pulaski Street to the west — have been affected.

Residents who are subject to a boiling recommendation must use bottled or boiled water for drinking, preparing and cooking food, and brushing their teeth. This includes washing fruits and vegetables, making ice cream, preparing baby food and washing dishes. Small children should be given sponge baths to prevent them from swallowing water.

The presence of E.coli bacteria indicates that the water may have been contaminated by human or animal feces, causing diarrhea, convulsions, nausea and headaches and posing a greater health risk to infants, young children, the elderly and those with severely compromised immune systems can , according to DPW.

The Baltimore Department of Public Works Tuesday began water distribution at three locations — 1401 W. Lafayette Ave., Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School; 3301 Waterview Ave., Middle Branch Park; and 500 Third Ave., Landsdowne Library – with a limit of three gallons per household, DPW tweeted.

Baltimore County officials are working on a plan to purchase and distribute water in addition to locations established by the city. Baltimore County public schools are providing bottled water to students and staff, and meals are being prepared at facilities outside of the affected area.

This is an evolving story and will be updated.


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