The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) advised the operator of Broadkiln Beach Water Company located in Sussex County to issue a boil water notice to customers after water samples collected from the system tested positive for the presence of E-coli bacteria.
Because the Broadkiln Beach Water Company shares a connection with PrimeHook Water Company, anyone who uses drinking water from either system should not drink the water without boiling it first.
The 1,600-1,700 customers affected are advised to bring the water to a boil (212 degrees F), let it boil for a minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water.
Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice.
The water system operator is required by state law to notify all consumers of the contamination and the boil water notice.
The well and the distribution system are currently being disinfected and flushed, and a chlorine treatment system has been put in place by the operator.
The Department of Health Office of Drinking Water (ODW) will alert the water system operator when bacteria is no longer present, and the public will be informed when boiling water is no longer needed.
E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes.
Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, contact your health care provider. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example following heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.