Friday, July 15, 2005

E. Coli Bacteria detected in Upper Rock water supply

Residents in the Upper Rock area have had their water supplies cut off after E. Coli bacteria was reportedly detected by AquaGib inspectors.

The contamination was detected following a burst water pipe which required supplies to be cut off to carry out the repairs. The water was then sampled and the contamination detected. The water was disinfected with chlorine, re-sampled and subsequently declared safe to drink.

According to informed reports the contamination was caused by seagull droppings in the water tanks situated at the Governor’s Lookout area.

Families living in the Upper Rock complain that they face contamination of their water supplies as a regular occurrence, although Aquagib take the precautionary step of informing residents whenever the problem occurs.

“We are usually told to boil the water before drinking it,” a resident told the Chronicle. On these occasions water bowsers are provided for residents. However other residents feel less reassured and given the time of year when departments slow down during the summer months, have expressed doubts that they are getting the warning as soon as the contamination happens and not after the event.

Escherichia coli (usually abbreviated to E. coli) is one of the main species of bacteria that live in the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals (including birds and mammals) and are necessary for the proper digestion of food. Its presence in groundwater is a common indicator of fecal contamination.

The supply of water to the Upper Rock is the responsibility of AquaGib although the infrastructure itself belongs to the Ministry of Defence.

Related Links:

Information on Escherichia coli includes article by The British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA)

Information about Escherichia coli from the US Government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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