WELLFLEET — The Wellfleet Municipal Water System has issued a notice to residents to boil town water before use.
The order comes after a test revealed the presence of E. coli in the water supply, according to a water system statement shared by the Wellfleet Police Department on the department’s Facebook page.
Total coliform and E. coli bacteria were found in two routine distribution system samples collected on Sept. 24. Additional samples were collected for repeated testings on Sept. 25, and those samples confirmed the presence of total coliform and E. coli on Saturday.
Residents are instructed to not drink or use town water without boiling it first, or use only bottled water. Any food or drinks made previously with town water should be thrown out.
Boiled water should be used for washing dishes, brushing teeth and any other food preparation. Food establishments must boil their water for five minutes, according to the statement.
Coliform is bacteria naturally present in the environment, and is used to detect the presence of other, potentially harmful bacteria, according to the statement. E. coli is a form of coliform bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes.
Potential short-term effects for anyone in contact with the contaminated water include diarrhea, cramps, nausea and headaches, the statement said.
The contaminated water may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems.
The issue is expected to be resolved in “3-7 days,” according to the statement. The water is currently being disinfected with chlorine, and the issue is expected to be resolved in 3 to 7 days, the water system said in the statement.
A statement will be made when tests show no bacteria is present.