The Clearwood Community Association has issued a boil water advisory for more than 1,000 homes in its entire subdivision near Yelm after E. coli was detected during routine water quality testing.
The E. coli bacteria was detected during routine testing Tuesday, Carolyn Cox, public information coordinator for the state Department of Health 's office of drinking water, said Wednesday.
The Clearwood Community Association has told DOH it started notifying residents of the boil water advisory by issuing fliers door to door on Tuesday night. DOH issued a news release on Wednesday. The Clearwood Community Association's website also had information about the "boil water" advisory on Wednesday.
E. coli is a bacteria that can cause severe gastrointestinal illness. To kill the bacteria, people in the Clearwood Community should boil tap water they'll use for drinking, brushing teeth, preparing food, making ice and washing dishes. Water should be heated to a brisk boil for one minute and then be allowed to cool before using, according to a DOH news release.
Residents can still use tap water to take showers and baths and for washing clothes. Parents can use the water to bathe their babies without boiling the water, as long as they do not drink any of the water.
Cox said Wednesday that it's still "too early to tell" how long it will take before the "boil water" advisory is lifted. The state DOH began its disinfection of the Clearwood Community's entire water system on Wednesday, she said. And a state DOH engineer will inspect the system with its operator on Thursday to look for the source of the contamination.
If all goes well during the disinfection of the system, the boil water advisory could be lifted by the end of the week, Cox said.
"It's hard to put too fine a point on when it might end," she said. "We don't know how long its going to take."
About 2800 people are affected by the boil water advisory, Cox said. She added that she knows of no similar advisories having been issued for the Clearwood Community over the past several years.
Customers with questions about their water quality can call the Clearwood Community Association at 360-894-2941.