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Bacteria found in Easthampton water, but city officials say not to worry

— Coliform bacteria was found in city water in December, but Easthampton Water Works employee Michael Czerwiec said the bacteria is not dangerous if consumed and the problem has been rectified.

Water is tested for the bacteria because “it can be an indication that there might be other problems,” Czerwiec said. In this case, though coliform bacteria was detected in four of 20 water samples collected in December, no dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli, were detected.

City officials believe they found the coliform bacteria because of a major water main break on Dec. 9 that caused about 250,000 gallons of water to flow out of a water tank on Drury Lane.

“The rapidity with which the water came out of the tank caused sediment in the tank to be carried into the distribution system, resulting in the positive coliform results,” a city press release states.

As a result, the department chlorinated and flushed the water mains in the area of Loudville Road twice in mid-December. No positive results have been detected since then, Czerwiec said. None of the samples with coliform bacteria was from the city’s water source wells, he added.

The city sent a mailing to Easthampton residents to inform them that the department had detected coliform bacteria but the problem was resolved. If residents had been at risk as a result of any bacteria, they would have been notified immediately, the press release said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.

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