NATICK – Yesterday, on July 14, the Town of Natick learned a raw (untreated) water sample collected on July 13, 2021 at the Elm Bank Wells tested positive for E. coli, which is a fecal indicator.
Fecal indicators are used to detect ground water sources that may be susceptible to fecal contamination, which may contain harmful viruses or bacteria. The Elm Bank Wells were turned off once we learned of the sample result, and are presently turned off, announced the Town of Natick on July 15.
This is not an emergency, you do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions at this time.
The water delivered to your taps through the distribution system is disinfected with chlorine to kill viruses and bacteria, including E. coli. It is important to note that the treated water from the Elm Bank Wells, all of the other Natick wells, and treated samples collected in the distribution system did NOT detect any fecal contaminants, said the Town in its alert this afternoon, July 15.
Even though none of the chlorinated samples tested positive, our chlorine disinfection system at the Elm Bank Wells has not been certified by the MassDEP as 4-log compliant for 99.99% virus inactivation. In accordance with the federal Ground Water Rule (GWR) requirements, we are notifying you of the situation and conducting additional sampling to evaluate the extent of potential fecal contamination and will take further actions as necessary, said the Town.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The USEPA requires us to provide you with this notice and the following information on fecal indicators, even though the well with the fecal indicator is no longer in use: “Fecal indicators are microbes whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special
health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.”
These symptoms can also be caused by issues unrelated to drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, or, if you have specific health concerns, you may want to discuss such concerns with your doctor. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or online at
WHAT IS BEING DONE?
We continue to maintain chlorine levels throughout our system and monitor for the presence of fecal contaminants in the sources and distribution system to ensure the safety of the water supply. Our system is undergoing repeat testing and evaluation to determine if the current level of treatment is adequate or if additional corrective actions are necessary to reduce the risk of potential fecal contamination in our drinking water supply. Our system is also seeking certification from MassDEP that our disinfection at Elm Bank currently meets the 4-log certification standard. We are in contact with MassDEP during this process who will evaluate the effectiveness of the steps taken and
determine if any further action is required.
This notice does not affect persons using private drinking water wells.