CLINTON — Test results confirmed Thursday that the water in Clinton is free of E. coli, but residents are advised to continue drinking bottled water while the city ups chlorine levels.

Following a reading indicating possible E. coli contamination Wednesday, nine tests have confirmed the bacteria is not present in the city's culinary water supply, Clinton City Manager Dennis Cluff said.

Residents were notified about the E. coli scare Wednesday and advised to drink bottled water while the city awaited test results. Though the E. coli threat has been averted and the water system flushed, Clinton residents are urged to wait to drink their tap water again until chlorine levels normalize throughout the system.

"The county health department has persuaded us that it would be appropriate not to lift the advisory until there is a sufficient amount of chlorine residual at the end of our system," Cluff said.

The advisory should be lifted Thursday night or Friday morning.

City officials have identified a possible source of the contamination, an irrigation line that was crossing with culinary water.

Residents were reportedly feeding irrigation water through a hose into their home's water heater after the culinary water had been shut off from lack of payment, Cluff said. In turn, the irrigation water tracked back into the city's culinary system.

"(Irrigation water) must have entered into the system and just went through the system slowly, and eventually there was some contamination at the west end, which is the low end, where the three tests yesterday identified there was some E. coli," Cluff said.

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The residents could face a possible citation, he said.

Updates about the water advisory will be posted on the city's website.


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