Town Administrator James McGrail and the Marion Public Works Department report that the Town of Marion is currently under a boil water order.
In addition to Marion, the towns of Fairhaven, Mattapoisett and Rochester are also under boil water orders. The order was issued after routine town water samples collected on Tuesday, Oct. 5 tested positive for E. coli. Immediately after identifying the positive samples, officials engaged the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and a boil water order was issued. The cause of the contamination remains unknown at this time.
The boil water order remains in effect town-wide for all those who utilize public water, and will continue until further notice. All water that will be used for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, washing dishes or food preparation should be boiled for at least one minute prior to use, or bottled water should be used as an alternative.
Any ice, beverages, formula or uncooked foods that were prepared with water from the public water system on or after Oct. 5 should also be discarded.
The same precautions to protect humans also apply to pets. Pets should be given bottled water or boiled water that has cooled. Water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator, should not be used for pets while under a boil water order. Fish or other aquatic pets should not be exposed to water containing elevated bacteria levels, and appropriately boiled or bottled water should be used instead.
The towns will be collecting additional water samples on Thursday, Oct. 7. The towns have also started temporary chlorination of the distribution systems and will be flushing the system over the next several days to draw the chlorinated water into the distribution systems.
Residents will be notified when they no longer need to boil their water.
“We are working closely with the DEP and our partners in Fairhaven, Mattapoisett and Rochester to resolve this issue,” Town Administrator McGrail said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation and will be providing updates to our residents as soon as they are available.”
E. coli is a sub-group of the fecal coliform bacteria group. There are many strains of E. coli, most of which are harmless, but some strains can cause illness. Symptoms of E. coli sickness can include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. These symptoms may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. These symptoms, however, are not just associated with water-borne illness; they may also come from other diseases. If you are ill with these symptoms, please contact your health care provider.
Residents with questions can contact Director of Public Works Nathaniel Munafo at 508-748-3540.
Additional information regarding drinking water boil orders and other public health orders can be found on the DEP’s website.