SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A boil water advisory is in place for parts of South Kingstown and Narragansett due to the detection of E. coli bacteria in five public water systems, the Department of Health announced Friday.
UPDATE: Narragansett Fire says it could take days to fix the problem.
Health officials said about 38,000 customers are affected.
The water systems affected under the boil water advisory are:
- Suez Water (customers with questions should contact Chris Jacobs at 401-316-2201)
- Narragansett – Point Judith (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-789-1091 or the Water Department at 401-782-0639)
- Narragansett – North End supplied by Suez Water (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-789-1091 or the Water Department at 401-782-0639)
- South Kingstown – South Shore (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-783-3321)
- South Kingstown – Middlebridge (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-783-3321)
The Health Department said affected customers should boil vigorously, for at least one minute, all water used for consumption. Alternatively, customers can use bottled water. These recommendations pertain to water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
Health officials said infants and young children should not be bathed in this water because they may swallow it accidentally. Anyone else using this water for bathing or showering should be careful to avoid swallowing the water.
E. coli is bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste.
A healthcare provider should be contacted if someone is on one of these five water systems and has diarrhea and any of the following symptoms:
- Fever over 101.5° F, measured orally
- Blood in the stool
- Prolonged vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down (which can lead to dehydration)
- Signs of dehydration, including a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up
- Diarrheal illness that lasts more than 3 days
The University of Rhode Island’s main campus is not on any of these systems. However, the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus is impacted by this advisory. Ninigret Park in Charlestown, which is hosting the Rhythm & Roots music festival this weekend, is not impacted.
Earlier this week, a portion of Narragansett Bay was closed off to shellfishing after a sewage line collapsed, causing approximately 300,000 gallons of sewage to overflow. Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken said while an investigation will be conducted to determine the source of the E. Coli contamination, he believes it is “highly unlikely” that the two are connected.
On Friday, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reduced the shellfishing closure to only the two-mile stretch of Warwick coast in the upper Narragansett Bay.