Traces of total coliform bacteria detected in Orange water system

ORANGE —The Orange Water Department reports that one of the seven routine distribution system water samples, collected in October, tested positive for total coliform bacteria. Total coliform bacteria were also detected in three of the 12 repeat distribution system water samples collected immediately thereafter. No E. coli bacteria were detected in any routine or repeat distribution system water sample. Also, no bacteria were detected in any of the six source water samples collected in October. 

This was not an emergency, as total coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves. However, the emergency disinfection system was activated as a protective measure. Careful evaluation of historical sampling results and system operations suggests that the four coliform-positive samples were most likely related to the fall turnover of standing water in the department’s North Tank. 

A fitting failure on a two-inch water line in the area on Oct. 2 may have also impacted sampling results. The department is currently evaluating any other potential causes for those results. The disinfection system will remain active until the likely causes have been addressed and MassDEP authorizes the town to stop disinfection. For more information, contact OWD Superintendent Mike Heidorn at 978-544-1115.

Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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