Boil water advisory issued by City of Brighton

'Elevated level of E. coli in the water'

BRIGHTON, Colo. - The City of Brighton has issued a boil water advisory notice to all Brighton residents, effective immediately.

The order is for all residents on the city's water supply following an E. coli scare. 

"There is an elevated level of E. coli in the water," Gary Sky, spokesman for the Tri-County Health Department, told our partners at The Denver Post.

"A 'boil water notice' means that it is recommended that you do not drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for three minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water," the city said in a news release received just before an emergency city council meeting at 6 p.m.

City council members were briefed on the water problem at an emergency 6 p.m. meeting in Brighton.  Council members were told they will have confirmation in 24 hours whether the isolated E. coli positive test was a false positive.

During a 7 p.m. news conference, it was announced that Brighton residents were getting automated phone calls, alerting them to boil water from their taps.  Jim Landeck, of Brighton City Utilities said the city will have results on a second test Thursday "around dinner time."  A second test was conducted late Wednesday afternoon and it takes 24 hours for the sample to incubate.

The positive test came back from a house near 27th and Southern avenues. A follow-up test came back negative but a nearby house then tested positive.

"If they found out so early, they should have notified us at 9:00 news, not 5:00 news, because we were drinking water all day," said Brighton resident Megan Rendon.

A 7NEWS viewer told us earlier the Platte Valley Medical Center had notes on their public drinking fountains that indicated the water supply has E coli.   The hospital told 7NEWS the signs are indeed up and said they took immediate precautions until they get further information on what the problem is.

The city said the first test came back positive on Monday but a notice didn't go out because protocol required a second test to be made.

"I'm really nervous about it still," said Brighton resident Kayla Earnhart.  "I probably will never drink Brighton water ever again -- bottled water is the way to go for us,  I mean I can't have my children getting sick over something."

From Starbucks to Sushi planet, many businesses couldn't open to the public on Thursday.

Nicole Mullin and her family were hoping to get ice cream at a Brighton ColdStone Creamery, yet it too was closed.

"We'll have to go to another city I think and get some Ice cream,” said Mullin.

Some residents are frustrated because it took a long time to get an emergency notification phone call concerning the boil order.  Some didn’t a notification at all.

“But to have them find this out days earlier…call an emergency meeting that is obtrusive in how they worded it in an announcement and then to find out from the news stations versus by our elected officials.  I have issues,” said Brighton resident Sandy Hessling in an interview with 7NEWS reporter Lance Hernandez.

City officials tell Hernandez it took time to narrow down the specific addresses in the Adams County notification system because the City of Brighton doesn’t have system of its own.

"There are times where information comes from other channels -- not official. When that happens, we go into emergency mode as a hospital to take precautionary measures for patients and staff.  That’s what we’re doing right now.  If we get official word from the city that we need to change direction, we will do so," said hospital spokesman Daryl Meyers prior to the city's new release being issued.

"As public utilities director, I'm very comfortably drinking our water and taking shower and using it for food prep because I know the system," said Landeck. "This is a precaution, an advisory."

The Brighton water system services more than 34,000 residents and 9,500 water customers.

Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control state on their website.  More info: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/