ADAMS -- Another side effect of this summer's heat manifested itself recently when coliform bacteria were detected in the town water supply during testing in August, according to Fire District officials.
In a Sept. 6 notice distributed by the district, the town's nearly 9,000 users were informed of a series of tests that confirmed coliform bacteria in district drinking water but said boiling water or any other corrective action was not needed for the general populace.
The notice stated that the elderly and "people with severely compromised immune systems" might seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers, as these groups and infants "may be at increased risk."
Coliform bacteria are naturally-occurring, colonizing organisms whose presence indicates the potential existence of pathogens in drinking water sources.
The notice said the situation is "not an emergency," with tests for other, potentially harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, coming back negative, and went on to outline a treatment process of chlorine injections and system flushes that are under way to correct the issue.
The notice also pointed out that the district is "still detecting coliform bacteria" and it's believed that "our storage tanks are the source of the bacteria problem."
On Monday, Adams Fire District Superintendent James Belanger said the district has never had an issue with coliform bacteria and is working with the
He called positive samples collected at three town water tanks in August "low-level hits."
"DEP notified us within 24 hours, and we had to follow their advice," Belanger said. " ... After we resampled the water, [the bacteria] was confirmed at three locations and [DEP] suggested we disinfect those three water tanks."
The three tanks are the district's 2 million gallon tank on West Maple Street, a 500,000-gallon tank on East Orchard Terrace and a 100,000-gallon tank on East Hoosac Street. Coliform bacteria is stemmed by tracing it to the environmental source.
Belanger said he hopes the district can resolve the issue within the next 30 days. He also added that Adams isn't alone in detecting the bacteria this season.
"We're not the only ones experiencing this problem; other cities and towns in Massachusetts have it too," he said. "What we believe is that very hot temperatures, high humidity and lack of rain are likely to be the cause."
Belanger said water users will be notified immediately of any changes in the situation.
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