Officials said Monday they aren't sure when the boil water advisory will be lifted for more than 1,000 homes in the Clearwood Community near Yelm.
The boil water advisory was issued Tuesday night after E. coli bacteria was detected during routine water quality testing.
Arlene Hyatt, a sanitarian for the state Department of Health's drinking water program, said the Clearwood Community's water system has been disinfected with chlorine, but water officials are now waiting for the chlorine levels to go down so the water can be retested.
The water cannot be retested until the chlorine dissipates, she said.
The boil water advisory will not be lifted until after the water is retested and found to be completely free of E. coli and chloroform bacteria, she said.
"There's no way for anyone to say exactly how long it's going to take," she said.
Hyatt said she feels for Clearwood residents living under the boil water advisory, but added that it is there to keep them safe.
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.
Residents can still use tap water for showers and baths and washing clothes. Parents can use the water to bathe their babies without boiling the water, as long as they do not drink any of it.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org