Boil water advisory in Fairburn lifted after E. coli contamination

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — UPDATE: The Boil Water Advisory for the City of Fairburn has been lifted. All water tests from the EPD came back negative. The water is safe for human consumption as of Oct. 7.

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Thousands of people living in the city of Fairburn in south Fulton county are under a boil water advisory.

E. coli bacteria was detected last week.

Channel 2′s Lori Wilson spoke with the utilities manager who said that anyone drinking or bathing with faucet water in the city has had to boil it all weekend, and still on Tuesday.

Fairburn Utilities Manager John Martin says crews found “a slight detection of E. coli contamination” Thursday.

[RELATED: What to do (and what not to do) during a boil water advisory]

“Our water comes from the city of Atlanta, it goes straight to the customers and we monitor the sampling,” Martin said.

Fairburn resident Jasmine Stembridge said she is taking precautions.

“I bought bottled water and jugs of water, and I got the biggest pot I could find, and that’s what U use to boil,” Stembridge said.

Stembridge, who has a baby, says she was concerned because she got late notice concerning the bad water.

“Having the anxiety of knowing that I had been consuming the water that was supposed to have been boiling,” Stembridge said.

Martin says city is following all guidelines set up by the environmental protection division, such as doing monthly testing, alerting residents online to boil their water and now flushing the water system to track down the source of the bacteria.

“As each test come out, it usually takes time for it to culture,” Martin said.

Still, people who live in the city say it’s still stressful, adding another problem for them.

Boil Water Advisory Tips

1. Only drink tap water after you’ve boiled it.

When boiling water, fill your pot with water and heat it until you see bubbles reach the top.

Once you notice a rolling boil, let it continue boiling for one minute before you turn off the heat and let the water cool.

Store the water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

2. Can’t boil your water? Try disinfecting instead.

According to the CDC, if your tap water is clear, you can use unscented household liquid bleach to disinfect your water.

Add one-eighth of a teaspoon of the bleach to one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly and then wait at least 30 minutes before drinking it.

Store the disinfected water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

If your tap water is not clear, use a clean cloth to filter the water.

Then, continue to use unscented household liquid bleach in the same way you used it for clear tap water, but this time, only add one-fourth of a teaspoon of the bleach to the gallon of water.

Again, store the disinfected water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

Keep in mind, however, that if the boil water advisory in effect is a result of high turbidity, bleach is not a viable disinfectant.

In addition, if the advisory in effect says there are Cryptosporidium parasites in the water, bleach will not be very useful. Boil water instead.

3. Can you drink water from a water filter or use ice from an ice tray?

You should still boil tap water even if you’re using a water filter. According to the CDC, most water filters don’t remove bacterium or viruses.

And no, do not use the ice in your ice tray. You should throw out all ice made with tap water, including ice in trays, dispensers or ice makers.

Instead, the CDC recommends you make new ice with boiled or bottled water.

4. Cooking food under a boil water advisory

When preparing to cook, wash any food prep surfaces with boiled water.

You can cook to your heart’s content, but be sure to also wash your ingredients with boiled water that has cooled (or use bottled water).

CDC experts recommend using boiled water when preparing beverages like coffee, tea and lemonade.

When you’re ready to wash your dishes, you’re OK to use your dishwasher as long as your appliance reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees (or if your appliance has a sanitizing cycle), according to the CDC.

You can also use hot water mixed with a teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of hot water to hand-wash your dishes.

Just soak the rinsed dishes in the mixed water for at least one minute and let them air dry.

5. Is it safe to take a shower or brush your teeth?

Of course, but be careful not to swallow any water when doing so and, when brushing your teeth, do not use untreated tap water. Instead, use boiled or bottled water.

If you have a baby or young child, consider giving them a sponge bath.

6. How to feed your baby safely under a boil water advisory

While CDC experts recommend breastfeeding, if that isn’t an option, use ready-to-use baby formula.

Use bottled water or boiled water (or, if you can do neither, disinfect the water using the disinfecting steps above) to prepare powdered or concentrated baby formula.

Be sure to both wash and sterilize the nipples and bottles before feeding.

7. Is the water safe for your pet?

CDC experts recommend abiding by the same guidelines for pets as you would for yourself and your family. Give your adopted fur babies boiled water that has been cooled.