North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Officials say a boil water order for Sweet Brook and Sweetwood, issued after E. coli bacteria were found in the facilities’ shared water system, has been lifted.
The boil water order was issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) after the bacteria was found during a routine inspection on Aug. 15.
The DEP could not be reached Thursday night for verification or comment.
"Once we were aware and notified from DEP, we began to follow the protocols to ensure residents had clean and safe water," Sweet Brook Administrator Suzanne Anair said on Thursday.
Clean and safe drinking water from Sand Springs, in Williamstown, was made available to residents during the entire order, she said.
An official statement, released by Sweet Brook and Sweetwood on Thursday afternoon, echoed Anair’s thoughts.
"The DEP performed additional testing on the water and the DEP concluded there was no longer any issue," it states.
Sweet Brook, a 184-bed nursing facility, that offers short-term rehabilitation care, as well as long-term live-in care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. It and its sister facility, Sweetwood, a senior living community with 70 apartments, are located along Cold Spring Road (Route 7) and are both served by the Sweet Brook Water System, which consists of four wells.
Eight samples from the system were collected on Aug. 15, and three tested positive for the bacteria, it states.
The fact sheet states E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicate the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. The bacteria can cause symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, and headaches.
"Such contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, following heavy rains)," it states.
The sheet states that water in the system could be chlorinated and then would be safe for showering. Residents were instructed to discard all ice, food and beverages prepared with unboiled water prior to Aug. 15.
Anair said representatives from the DEP were on site Thursday to do additional testing.
The DEP also provided the facility with a portable treatment system to chlorinate the water, Anair said.
Information from the DEP states three consecutive water samples must test clean before the boil order can be lifted.
According to the DEP website, the Sweet Brook of Williamstown Water system serves approximately 300 people.
To reach Edward Damon, email