Montrose serves boil water notice

Montrose has sent out a boil water notice to residents following the detection of bacteria in its prize-winning water.

Bacteria found in water sampling

Montrose has sent out a boil water notice to residents following the detection of bacteria in its prize-winning water.

Interior Health is asking villagers to boil their drinking water for one minute at a rolling boil or use bottled water as a precautionary measure.

A small amount of coliform bacteria, which is commonly found in the environment and is generally harmless, has consistently shown up in the village’s weekly water sampling over the past couple months.

At its highest, six coliform bacteria per 100 millilitres of water were found in a sampling, when ideally there should be none, according to an environmental health officer with the IHA.

“These are not big numbers, they’re not in the hundreds or thousands,” said Dan Byron, who is acting as a drinking water officer for the village.

The bacteria can come from different sources like decaying vegetation or old fecal coliforms, but should not be confused with E. coli, which brings a much greater risk.

“E. coli is a coliform as well but specifically derives from recent fecal from warm-blooded animals,” Byron explained. “No E. coli has been detected.”

Byron will visit Montrose today to take a closer look at the village’s well system. He said that the persistent levels of the bacteria could be stirred from recent maintenance.

Contamination can result from numerous problems such as pipe leaks, pipe breaks, inadequate cleaning and disinfection after repairs, and cross-connections with non-potable water.

Montrose Mayor Griff Welsh said the village is being proactive.

“We will definitely get to the bottom of this,” he said Wednesday.

Thankfully, the village has yet to send a sample of its water to the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition, a contest the village took silver in twice in the past four years it participated.

The village sent out a notice Tuesday via mailouts, and has placed notices on the community bulletin board and other key areas throughout the community.

The notice will remain until the health authority and village staff get to the bottom of the bacteria surge.