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September 11, 2013

Rochester establishments back to routine after boil order

Bacteria result likely a sampling error, Rochester official says.

ROCHESTER — Before the plant operator and foreman of the Rochester Water Department determined a sampling error sent the city into a two-day boil order, establishments relied on their training and desire to cater to customers to adapt.

Randy Wynn, plant operator and foreman of the Rochester Water Department, said a sample of the city’s water supply testing positive for a form of bacteria was likely the result of a sampling error. He said a weekly test conducted at the plant in late August came back positive for coliform, a bacteria present in fecal matter.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which conducts the weekly tests from samples from water plants across the state, recommended a boil order. Residents of the plant’s service area were told to boil water for five minutes before using it for drinking, cooking and bathing.

The recommendation remained in place from Aug. 27 to Aug. 29, Wynn said, adding that the results were not dire enough to require a mandate.

After tests conducted on water in the city’s well system came back negative for coliform, Wynn said the result of the test from the sample taken from the plant was likely an error in the sampling procedure.

“If there were problems with the water, it would have came back with the wells and they all tested fine and passed,” he said.

He added it would be impossible to tell for sure, but that the positive coliform result could have stemmed from a sample container that hadn’t been sanitized correctly.

Woodlawn Hospital CEO John Alley said two people came into the hospital complaining of flu-like symptoms during the time surrounding the coliform incident at the plant.

Alley went on to say the hospital adapted to the boil order by having its staff members wash their hands with water that had been boiled, per IDEM’s recommendation.

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