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 Julia Escamilla, public services information officer for the Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District.
Those homes had to wait until Tuesday afternoon for drinkable tap water, said Escamilla.
The tap water was 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.
“The source of the bacteria has not been determined and the investigation is continuing,” said Greg Thomas, Rincon Water’s general manger.
“After exhaustive testing, the results indicate that no harmful bacterium was in the water,” said Escamilla.
Water district officials warned residents affected by the boil alert through phone calls and home visits.
The contaminated water affected Palomar Medical Center. According to Bobette Brown, media relations manager, no health issues have arisen from the tap water.
On Aug. 15, 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.