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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / FILLMORE

Bacteria Found in Water Supply

July 08, 1998|NICK GREEN

Health officials may issue an order today warning Fillmore residents to boil water before drinking it after detecting evidence of unhealthful bacteria in the water supply of the small agricultural community.

For now, officials say they are flushing the system and adding higher than usual levels of bacteria-killing chlorine to the water to make it safe.

County officials say they notified owners of the city's 65 restaurants Tuesday afternoon to throw out ice supplies, serve bottled water and use canned soda rather than fountains connected to the city's drinking water supply.

"It's erring on the side of safety," said Elizabeth Huff, manager of community services for the county's Environmental Health Division. "If the boil water order goes out, we'll take more definitive action and extend [the ban] to coffee machines and dishwashers and things like that."

Fillmore officials are sampling again for evidence of coliform bacteria and if the test is positive a second time the boil water edict will be issued. The results will be known this afternoon.

However, people may want to take measures of their own, said John Curphey, state sanitary engineer for drinking water programs.

"I might want to get bottled water if I lived there," he said. "Certain people--pregnant women, young children or older people--might want to go ahead and drink bottled water or boil the water."

Routine weekly sampling showed that three of four samples tested positive for coliform bacteria, which is associated with sewage contamination, Curphey said. However, it is possible that dirt in a water line may also have caused the positive samples, he said.

Residents may call City Hall at 524-3701 for more information or check Channel 10, the city's public access television station.

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