Baltimore latest among major cities experiencing contamination in water supply

Baltimore has become the latest major city to experience a water crisis involving contamination in the water supply.

City officials have been urging residents to boil tap water for at least one minute after E. coli was discovered in West Baltimore at one sampled location on Friday and another two locations on Saturday. More than 1,500 people were affected by the advisory, as well as several area schools.

Investigators are identifying construction sites that potentially contributed to the contamination, Baltimore Director of Department of Public Works Jason Mitchell told reporters during a press conference Monday, Baltimore ABC affiliate WMARreported. The health department is flushing the system, as well as performing leak detection and live checks in the area, and increasing chlorination levels, Mitchell said.MORE: How the water crisis is impacting Jackson residents

Engineers are inspecting the distribution system, treatment systems, pumping facilities and other infrastructure, city officials told reporters during a news conference on Tuesday, WMAR reported.

The boil water notice will remain in effect until the source of the E. coli is determined and the problem has been fixed, the Maryland Department of the Environment said.

There is no evidence so far that the contamination spread to the east or southeast sections of the city, officials said Tuesday after the results came in from another round of tests that were sampled on Monday.

The health department takes 360 samples from 90 locations throughout the city each month to identify potential issues with water quality.

The city began distributing water to impacted communities once the contamination was announced. More than 1,700 gallons of water were handed out on Monday alone, and the distribution continued into Tuesday, officials said.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott told reporters Monday that the city is “taking this issue seriously.”

“We understand deeply the concerns of residents and we want to assure them that their health and well-being are our first priority,” Scott said.


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