07/01/10 — Smithfield residents warned to boil their drinking water

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Smithfield residents warned to boil their drinking water

By Staff Reports
Published in News on July 1, 2010 1:46 PM

SMITHFIELD -- Residents of the town of Smithfield were warned to boil their water before drinking it Wednesday after E. coli bacteria was found in the system.

The bacteria can cause people to become sick and is of particular concern to those with weak immune systems, a town press release said.

Water users in Johnston County were not affected by the order, only those on the city water system.

They were urged to boil tap water for at least one minute before letting it cool, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice, according to the alert.

The bacteria comes from human or animal waste and can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. Such bacteria can enter the system after heavy rains create usually heavy runoff, the press release said. It said the bacteria was discovered at one the city's 40 sampling points. An investigation into the source is be pursued.

General guidelines on ways to reduce the risk of infection are available by calling the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800 426-4791

An updated news release from the city was expected later today.