JAFFREY — Residents in most of the western portion of Jaffrey should boil their tap water until further notice after tests revealed E. coli bacteria in the water system, according to a notice posted Tuesday on the town website.
The contaminated water was found in samples collected Monday, according to the notice, which was also shared on the town Facebook page. Officials from the town water department could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
The boil order is in effect for properties from Highland Avenue and west. The affected area includes Prospect Street, Main Street (west of Prospect Street), Matchpoint Road, Sawtelle Road, Harkness Road, Cutter Hill Road, Bryant Road, Parsons Lane, Jaffrey Center, Thorndike Pond Road, Blackberry Lane, First Tavern Road, Dublin Road, Mountain Road, Mark Street and Gilmore Pond Road and Sandy Lane, south from Main Street to Heath Road.
“This problem is isolated to this area of town only,” the notice reads. “If you live in this general area, the boil order affects you. In addition to additional testing, we have boosted the dosage of chlorine added to our system.”
According to the N.H. Department of Environmental Services, chlorine can help disinfect water contaminated by bacteria like Escherichia coli. The town is working with NHDES to “aggressively [investigate] the cause of this contamination,” according to the notice.
The town anticipates resolving the issue “within the next few days,” but the boil order will remain in effect until lifted by NHDES, according to the notice. Until then, residents in the affected area should bring all of their water to a boil for two minutes before letting it cool for use. Residents can also use bottled water while the boil notice is in effect.
“Pre-boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, brushing teeth, washing vegetables, washing dishes, making infant formula, all food preparation and consumption, and making or using ice until further notice,” the notice reads.
According to NHDES, adults can still shower when a boil order is in effect, so long as they do not swallow any water. The department recommends sponge baths for children, using a clean supply of water, if possible. Regardless, people affected by a boil order should wash their hands with chlorinated or bottled/boiled water after bathing.
E. coli bacteria indicate water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes, and can cause illness, according to the notice. These bacteria are of particular concern for people with weakened immune systems.
The boil order will remain in effect until testing no longer shows the presence of E. coli in the water, according to the notice. Jaffrey residents will be notified when the problem has been corrected.