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E. coli discovery leads to boil water order in St. George neighborhood

Posted at 4:47 PM, Jun 24, 2024

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A boil water order has been issued for a St. George community after samples tested positive for E. coli.

It was just a few days ago when a neighbor knocked on Bob Ural's door, telling the Diamond Valley resident him that there was a boil water order issued for about 350 homes.

"I haven't had any issues with it, we just haven't been ingesting it and just bought some bottled water, and been doing fine," explained Ural.

While doing routine, monthly sampling of the water supply last week, the Diamond Valley Water Company reported a positive E. coli test. When the sampling was repeated the next day, it came back negative, although some samples did test positive for total coliforms, which is bacteria in the water.

"We are a non-chlorinated system, so we don't have primary disinfection and that's what the people want, is a non-chlorinated system," said John Cazier, facilities manager for the water company. "They love and taste and smell, and the water is really great, but by not chlorinating, it leaves us susceptible to some false positives."

Cazier added that in accordance with state policy through the Utah Division of Drinking Water, the company issued a boil water order. Diamond Valley is also collecting and testing samples daily, and hope to lift the boil water order by the end of the week if the samples are safe.

"I suspect we're probably near the end of it, I can smell the chlorine in the water system now. So its probably being well-chlorinated to kind of clean things out," said Ural. 

Residents in 12 homes were under boil water order last month, although it's not known if the two incidents are related. They company claims not to know where the E. coli come from.

"We don't know of anything at this point, negligence isn't part of the equation, this isn't somebody didn't do their job," Cazier insisted. "This is just kind of the process that happens occasionally."

As the water company works on cleaning out the supply, they are providing bottled water to those who ask for it.

"We recognize the inconvenience and we are really sorry that it is what it is, but we'll just keep working daily to fix that, get everything cleaned, so everybody can start drinking the water and act like nothing happened," said Cazier.

While residents do their part like Ural do their part.

"We just deal with it."