Water samples test positive again for E. coli and Total Coliform; Guam EPA continues to advise boiling water before use in two villages

02 August 2014

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) today certified laboratory results from drinking water samples taken on Friday, Aug. 1.

Samples taken at locations in Mangilao and Barrigada again tested positive for E. coli and Total Coliform, respectively. Given these results, Guam EPA advises residents in these villages to continue boiling water before using it to drink, cook, prepare food and brush teeth. This advisory will be in effect until at least Tuesday.

Residents should heat the water to a constant boil for a minimum of five minutes. Boiling water kills any bacteria or organisms in the water.

“I have spoken with Guam Waterworks Authority’s acting general manager, Mr. Tom Cruz, and we agreed that the best path forward with the ongoing situation is to err on the side of caution. The fact that Guam EPA’s laboratory is confirming the presence of bacteria is a concern to Mr. Cruz and I, and our teams will do everything that they can to eliminate this risk to our residents as expeditiously as possible,” Guam EPA administrator Eric M. Palacios said. “Our infrastructure is getting stronger, but Tropical Storm Halong brought a lot of rainfall and presented challenges when it passed by recently.”

Because there is now an acceptable level of chlorine in the sample results in these villages, certain activities, including showering and bathing, may be okay for residents with healthy immune systems. Residents with weak immune systems, infants and the elderly are encouraged to continue using boiled water for bathing. Also, avoid ingesting any water while showering or bathing.

Guam EPA will continue to test the drinking water in Mangilao and Barrigada every day and until the samples return without contamination for two consecutive days. Guam EPA will provide daily updates throughout the weekend via media and the Agency’s website: epa.guam.gov.

“I stand by my team of professionals, the inspectors, engineers and laboratory personnel. I am confident in the quality of work that they have performed and will continue to perform for our community,” Palacios added.

For more information about the advisory or to arrange an interview, contact Guam EPA’s Public Information Officer Tammy Jo Anderson Taft at 988-7582 or email at TammyJoAnderson.Taft@epa.guam.gov.