NORTH ADAMS -- Coliform bacteria was detected in two out of the city's 20 drinking water samples in December, but Public Services Commissioner Timothy Lescarbeau says residents don't have to worry about the city's water supply.
In a notification sent out by the city's Water Department earlier this week, it was stated that while two of the 20 samples tested positive for coliform, no E. coli or enterococci bacteria were detected in any sample.
Five repeat samples were taken immediately upon notification from the lab, with all five samples coming back coliform-free. In addition, the locations where the coliform bacteria had been detected were flushed until higher chlorine residual was achieved in the distribution system.
"This notification is just a formality under the new drinking water rules," he said. "If you have more than one sample test positive for coliform bacteria in a month, you're out of compliance [with standards set by the state Department of Environmental Protection. We're now required to send out notification, even if our second set of samples come back clean."
Coliform bacteria are naturally occurring, colonizing organisms whose presence can indicate the potential existence of pathogens in drinking water.
"This is nothing new," Lescarbeau said. "Before the new rules kicked in, if the second set of samples came back clean, we didn't have to notify anyone. There are no issues. The water is safe to drink."
Had the second set of samples come back positive for coliform bacteria or had other types of bacteria been detected in the original samples, the city would have been required to notify the public immediately.
For more information, contact Lescarbeau at 413-662-3000, ext. 3047.