More E. Coli On Mercer Island, Source Remains A Mystery | KUOW News and Information

More E. Coli On Mercer Island, Source Remains A Mystery

Oct 3, 2014

Residents of Mercer Island are on their second boil alert this week.
Credit Flickr Photo/Steve Johnson (CC BY 2.0)

There’s E. coli in the water again on Mercer Island. The island's 62 restaurants  have been ordered to close and people are being told to boil their water for the second time in a week. Schools say they’ll remain open.

The city says test results on Thursday morning showed one sample with E. coli. Mercer Island City Manager Noel Treat says the city is working collaboratively and quickly to try and figure out the problem. 

“Ever since this last weekend we’ve been doing inspections of our system and re-inspections of our system. We’re going to continue daily water sampling,” he said. "We’re working with our engineers and the engineers from the State Department of Health to do a complete analysis of our system and just try and pinpoint where might there be some source of contamination."

Water boil in effect on Mercer Island. Tap water must be boiled for one minute and then cooled before consumption.
Credit City of Mercer Island

Sandwich board signs warning people about the boil order were all over the city. Volunteers are also going door-to-door to get the word out.

Nassir Meysami is frustrated. He and his wife were loading up on 24 packs of bottled water at the supermarket. “You have a problem here,” he said. "Every day we have to listen to the radio. Water is good. Water is not good. Just fix it as soon as possible, you know?”

Others like Carol Radovitch seemed to be taking it in stride. Her shopping cart was filled with milk, water and tonic water. “Yeah, I’m loaded up with liquids,” Radovitch said. She was at home getting a haircut when she got a call from a friend. “She said turn on your TV. The water ban in on again!”

Radovitch dumped all the ice cubes from the freezer into the sink and drove to the store. “You begin to think you’re being terrorized or something. You know, silly thoughts. But then again, not so silly," she said.

The city says there have been no confirmed cases of illness. Seattle Public Utilities, which supplies the city’s water says the problem is limited to Mercer Island.