A boil water advisory is in place for the customers of five public water systems serving parts of Narragansett and South Kingstown because E. coli bacteria was found in the water supply. The affected water systems are:
- Suez Water (customers with questions should contact Chris Jacobs at 401-316-2201)
- Narragansett – Point Judith (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-789-1091 or John Soetbeer at 401-265-3515)
- Narragansett – North End (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-789-1091 or John Soetbeer at 401-265-3515)
- South Kingstown – South Shore (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-783-3321)
- South Kingstown – Middlebridge (customers with questions should contact the Police Department at 401-783-3321)
Posted online are a map of the affected areas and a list of the streets in Narragansett and South Kingstown that are affected. (See related links below.) (For more complete information about the areas covered, customers should contact the individual water systems.) Additionally, people can check their water bills to determine what system provides their water. Approximately 38,000 residents are impacted by this boil water advisory.
The five systems' customers should boil vigorously, for at least one minute, all water used for consumption. Alternatively, customers can use bottled water. These recommendations pertain to water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. Infants and young children should not be bathed in this water because they may swallow it accidentally. Anyone else using this water for bathing or showering should be careful to avoid swallowing the water. Additional guidance is available online. (See related links below.) The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is communicating guidance to restaurants and other food establishments in the area. (Guidance for food establishments is also available online at http://health.ri.gov/publications/instructions/FoodServiceBoilWater.pdf)
The E. coli finding was made during routine sampling by Suez Water, which sells water to the other systems. There have been no illnesses associated with these systems.
This health advisory will remain in effect until corrective actions are completed, three consecutive days of satisfactory bacteria results are obtained, and RIDOH approves the lifting of the advisory. Water systems administrators are currently alerting customers about this advisory and will alert customers when it is lifted.
E. coli is bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term health effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They pose a special health risk for infants, young children, and people with severely compromised immune systems. EPA has set a drinking water standard for E. coli to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects. Under this standard, drinking water must be free of these bacteria for water to be consumed from a system.
A healthcare provider should be contacted if someone is on one of these five water systems and has diarrhea and any of the following symptoms:
- Fever over 101.5° F, measured orally
- Blood in the stool
- Prolonged vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down (which can lead to dehydration)
- Signs of dehydration, including a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up
- Diarrheal illness that lasts more than 3 days
The University of Rhode Island's main campus is not on any of these systems. However, the University of Rhode Island's Bay Campus is impacted by this advisory. Ninigret Park in Charlestown, which is hosting the Rhythm & Roots music festival this weekend, is not impacted.
If you have already contacted your water system and still have questions, visit http://www.health.ri.gov