ESCONDIDO— Residents were forced to spend a weekend without immediately drinkable tap water after routine tests showed the presence of Coliform in the water supply.
The bacteria can cause stomach illness when ingested so residents were told to boil tap water before drinking or cooking with it. The water was usable for bathing and laundry.
The bacteria often indicate the presence of other types of more harmful bacteria, like E coli. Officials found no E. coli in the water supply.
About 6,300 homes and businesses were affected. Residents were told to boil their tap water for five minutes before drinking or cooking with it.
The boil alert was lifted at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday with the exception of 60 homes on Caraway Street (south of Country Club Lane only), Jana Place, Sonia Place, Via Alexandra and Via Scott, according to the Rincon del Diablo Water District website.
The tap water was also fine for pets, since most come into contact with the bacteria daily from dirt, licking other animals and drinking from puddles.
Officials are in the process of determining the source of the bacteria. Until they do, the 60 homes in northern Escondido are still not supposed to drink the water.
“The presence of Coliform bacteria has been isolated to a very specific area,” said Greg Thomas, Rincon Water’s general manager. “The source of the bacteria has not yet been identified. The investigation is continuing and we are focusing on getting these five streets off the boil order as soon as possible.”
Water district officials are warning residents affected by the boil alert through phone calls and home visits.
The contaminated water affected Palomar Medical Center. According to Bobette Brown, mediar elations manager, no health issues have arisen from the tap water.
On Friday, the hospital shut off the tap water and was given the go-ahead to use tap water Monday.
Ice machines, water dispensers, coffee makers and eye washing stations were sanitized and are expected to be used tomorrow.
The Rincon del Diablo Water District has never had to issue a boil alert in its 60-year history.
The boil alert comes less than a week after city officials voted unanimously to move the city to a “Level 2” drought response. Residents are allowed to use their sprinklers and hoses for 10 minutes a day, three days a week.
The water district officials are still waiting on test results before lifting the ban on the remaining 60 homes.