Purcellville, VA (July 10, 2015) — The Town of Purcellville’s Hirst well tested positive for E.coli contamination on the untreated (raw) source water. The sample from this location was taken prior to any treatment in our facility. For clarification, this only occurred in one of the seven well raw water sources where sampling was conducted. As customers, you have a right to know what happened and what we are doing to correct this situation. On Thursday, July 9, we learned that one of our routine samples collected this week at Emerick Elementary School was total coliform positive. Since this sample was taken from an outside hose bib and after an emergency water line repair project undertaken by Loudoun County Public Schools, the Town did not suspect any other problems. A follow-up test of 10 samples in this immediate area was conducted and no other positive bacteria test was present. As required by EPA’s ground water rule, one of the follow-up steps based on this positive routine sample test involved collecting raw water samples from all of our wells.
It is important to note that this test only looks at the untreated water prior to the disinfection process that we have in place to address any potential type of issue related to bacteria. A sample from the Hirst well untreated water collected late yesterday tested positive for a fecal indicator (E.coli). As a result, we have taken additional untreated water samples and finished treated water samples at this well and have taken the well off-line so that it is no longer in service. All of the other wells did not indicate any potential problem on either the untreated water or finished treated water side. At this point with the well being off-line, there is no additional risk for any type of contamination from this source and we will be conducting a thorough investigation to determine the source of the potential contamination.
Inadequately treated or inadequately protected water may contain disease-causing organisms. Fecal indicators are microbes whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term health effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.
Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.