Wayland's drinking water violated a state standard for the presence of coliform bacteria in August.
According to a release from the Department of Public Works, two samples collected in August -- out of a total of 32 -- tested positive for coliforms, non-harmful bacteria. The state standard is that no more than one sample test positive for the bacteria in a given month.
The DPW said the situation in “not an emergency,” adding that there is no need for residents to boil their water or take other corrective action; however, "people with severely compromised immune systems, infants and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers," according to the DPW release.
Wayland's drinking water also exceeded the state standard for coliform bacteria in August 2011 when three samples tested positive.
"Coliforms are bacteria which are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present," according to the DPW release.
Anytime coliform is found, the DPW does additional follow-up testing to look for those other, harmful bacteria such as fecal coliform or E. coli. Subsequent tests revealed no further problems.
In addition, further testing has revealed no sign of coliform bacteria.
The full text of the DPW press release is below:
Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this incident was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we did to correct this situation.
We routinely monitor for drinking water contaminants. We took 32 samples to test for the presence of coliform bacteria during August. Two of our samples showed the presence of total coliform bacteria. The standard is that no more than 1 sample per month may do so.
What should I do?
- You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. However, if you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.
People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1 (800) 426-4791.
What does this mean?
This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified immediately. Coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves. Coliforms are bacteria which are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present. Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed and this was a warning of potential problems.
Usually, coliforms are a sign that there could be a problem with the system’s treatment or distribution system (pipes). Whenever we detect coliform bacteria in any sample, we do follow-up testing to see if other bacteria of greater concern, such as fecal coliform or E. coli, are present. We did not find any of these bacteria in our subsequent testing, and further testing shows that this problem has been resolved.
What happened? What was done?
Repeat samples showed no sign of coliform bacteria and chlorine levels are being monitored.
For more information, please contact Michael Hatch at (508) 358-3699 or 41 Cochituate Road.