Bacteria found in Wilmington’s drinking water

An up-close view of water dripping from a metal faucet

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Tests performed on Wilmington’s drinking water back in July showed coliform bacteria in enough samples that it landed the city’s water department in violation of drinking water standards.

The Wilmington Water Department says it collected 154 samples for the presence of drinking water contaminants over the summer. Of those, eight showed the presence of total coliform bacteria. The standard is no more than seven of the 154 samples may do so.

In a statement released today, the city emphasized this did not pose a health emergency of any kind, explaining that coliforms are bacteria naturally present in the environment, and are used as an indicator that other, potentially-harmful bacteria may be present, like fecal coliform and E. coli. Those types of bacteria were not found in follow-up tests; the city says, “all repeat samples collected were absent for total coliform bacteria… Samples collected in August indicate that the water has returned to compliance.”

Although the incident was not an emergency, the city wanted to “notify its customers about the violation and what was done to correct matters,” adding if it had been, residents would have been notified immediately.

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The city says you do not need to boil your water; the Wilmington Water Dept. says it continues to monitor water quality on a daily basis.

For more information, you can contact Sean Duffy with Public Works at (302) 576-3074 or Allison Diggins, Environmental Health Specialist II, with the Office of Drinking Water at (302) 741-8581.

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