From the Kent County Health Department
Wednesday, the City of Rockford announced that water testing indicated the presence of E. Coli, after an equipment malfunction at the treatment plant over the holiday weekend. The city issued a Boil Water Advisory for customers of the Rockford Water System. The Kent County Health Department is working with the city to make sure residents know what they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones during the advisory period.
Frequently Asked Questions
I made food between Friday, August 30 and the time I became aware of this advisory. I used tap water to clean or prepare the food. Can I eat it? No. The Kent County Health Department recommends throwing the food away, as it may be contaminated.
Are my drinking glasses, dishes, and eating utensils safe to use? It depends on how they were cleaned. Dishwashers and hand washing rarely generate water that is hot enough to kill E. coli. The Kent County Health Department recommends rewashing any dishes with water that has been boiled for at least one minute, then cooled down, or bottled water. Do not use dishwashers until the advisory is lifted. Food preparation and dining areas, such as countertops and tables, should be cleaned with disinfectant and/or boiled or bottled water.
My refrigerator has a water filter and ice maker. Is this water safe to use? No. Water filters can’t remove E.coli from tap water. Do not use any ice that your refrigerator has made in the last week. Once the advisory is lifted, make sure you allow the line to your ice maker to flush (following manufacturer’s instructions), and throw out the first batch of ice it makes.
Can I wash my clothes? Yes. Wash them in hot water and dry them on the highest setting available.
How can I wash baby/kids toys? Infants and children tend to put toys in their mouths. Be sure to wash any of these items with soap and bottled or boiled water.
My house is in the Rockford area, but I live on a well or pay my water bill to another
municipality. Does this advisory impact me? No. Only customers of Rockford City Water are impacted.
Can I shower? Yes, however there are a few concerns:
Open Sores: you should not shower if you have open sores. The Kent County Health
Department recommends taking a sponge bath instead. Do not use contaminated water to clean open sores.
Infants and Small Children: Parents should provide sponge baths and stay with the child at all times. Make sure the child does not get water in his or her mouth. Following a bath or shower, you should wash your hands with soap and bottled water or water that has been boiled then cooled down. Follow that up with hand sanitizer.
Can I give my pets water? Domesticated animals have a hardy immune system, but can get sick from contaminated water. The Kent County Health Department suggests boiling water, then cooling it, before providing it to your pets.
The Kent County Health Department staff is working closely with licensed restaurants and food service facilities in the affected area. They have been given special instructions on maintaining safe standards during the advisory period; however, a number of facilities have voluntarily closed. Health department officials have been in contact with health care providers and other local health departments to make them aware of the situation, in case of suspected illness. So far, there have been no confirmed cases of illness related to the water.