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Boil water notice issued in Dalton


A boil order notice has been issued for the Village of Dalton's public water supply.

Jeff Juelfs, the community's utility supervisor, said the notice was issued Thursday after tests showed the presence of E. coli in the town's public drinking water.

According to the notice, water must be boiled for one minute before being consumed.

"Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes," the notice states. "Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms."

Young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk, the notice adds.

Juelfs said he is not aware of anyone reporting an illness associated with the contamination.

The water system will be flushed with chlorine for seven to nine days to bring it back into compliance, he said.

While the source of the E. coli has not been determined, Juelfs said the contamination could have occurred from backflow.

Becky Schuerman, a program manager with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services public drinking water supply program, said based on its population, the Village of Dalton is required to submit a coliform and E. coli sample each month.

After initially testing positive, four repeat samples were collected.

"They ended up having samples that came back both positive for total coliform from their distribution system and one of them came back positive for E. coli," she said.

Tests from the municipality's well were negative, however.

"So this tells us that there is something within the distribution system that brought this on," Schuerman explained.

Following the chlorine disinfection process, the water system will be flushed.

Once 10 samples – taken over two days – show no signs of the contaminants, a cease boil order will be issued, she said.

The State of Nebraska is the body with primary enforcement reasonability under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is in charge of all public water systems in the state, Schuerman said.

Laboratories that process public drinking water supply samples send results directly to the state, which keeps track of the findings, she added.

Juelfs said the boil water notice is the first he's experienced while working for the village since January.


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