UPDATE: Boil water advisory lifted for Farmers Water Co. customers in Sahuarita

E.Coli concerns prompt boil water advisory

SAHUARITA, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The boil water advisory, issued on Thursday, July 11 has been lifted due to new test results from Friday, July 12, according to a news release from Farmers Water Co.

Customers and businesses in the affected areas that included south of Quail Creek and east of the Union Pacific Railroad, as well as three miles south of Madera Canyon Road including the Silver Sky Place neighborhood, are no longer required to boil their water or use bottled water.

Officials from State and County Departments of Environmental Quality are reporting, based on Friday’s results, provided they have been flushing their toilets and running other faucets, the water is safe.

No additional measures need to be taken for water heaters, water softeners, etc.

Those who have been out of town or not using their water system for more than 24 hours, it is recommended that as a normal course of action, they flush their internal plumbing (suggested cold water for 5 minutes and hot water for 15 minutes).

Out of an abundance of caution it is recommended that old ice cubes be discarded. With respect to pools, check chlorine levels or consult with a pool maintenance service.

Nan Walden, Vice President and General Counsel of Farmers Investment Company / Farmers Water Company, said the advisory was initiated after a water sampling on Thursday morning indicated a potential contamination in the system of one of the wells.

The potential contamination caused the advisory for about 1,400 customers.

Walden said they alerted customers as soon as they could after learning about the potential of the bacteria.

“They let my husband know through email,” said Nancy Porterfield, who lives in the affected area.

“My wife was on vacation in California, she sent me a text," said Chris Ciruli. “There was a flyer in my mailbox when I got home from work."

Communities affected include Madera Highlands, Madera Reserve, Colonia Real, Pasadera, Madera Shadows, Madera Foothills Estate and homes along Camino de La Canoa. The Continental School complex and the United Community Health Center were also covered by the boil advisory and were notified early Thursday.

"We have not had an incident like this ever, in sixty years of operating the water company," said Walden.

KOLD News 13 checked EPA records and found the company had received violations for monitoring and reporting before. But, Walden said those are small, internal issues that can be fixed without public notice.

“We have a wonderful crew and we always believe in getting out ahead of an issue and airing on the side of caution,” said Walden.

After learning of the test result, Farmers Water Company immediately increased the chlorination levels to the affected system and notified the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) and the Arizona Department Environmental Quality (ADEQ).

Walden said samples will be retested to make sure it wasn’t a false positive in the reading. The company and PDEQ is also investigating the source of the possible contamination, whether it be in the single well or in a pipeline.

“If it’s in the pipeline, for example, an animal may have broken into it. Perhaps some repairs were done in that area," said Walden.

The advisory was a small inconvenience for customers Thursday, opting for bottled water over boiling.

“I’ve been drinking the water all week and I feel fine," said Ciruli. “I’m just lazy, I’m going to go with the bottled because it’s free.”

While E. Coli doesn’t always result in illness, symptoms can become severe for those with a weakened immune system, including children or the elderly.

“We don’t want them to become dehydrated, either by nausea or by diarrhea," said Walden. "So if any of those symptoms show themselves, they should seek medical care.”

E. Coli symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting, in some people
  • Abdominal cramping, pain or tendernes
  • Diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody

Periodic updates will be provided at: https://www.farmerswaterco.com/. Those customers living in the affected area can call (520) 879-7474 for further information.

ATTENTION: Possible E. Coli Contamination in Water Supplied by Farmers Water, Boil Advisory in Effect SAHUARITA, Ariz....

Posted by Town Government of Sahuarita, Arizona on Thursday, July 11, 2019

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