E. coli Traces Have Yale Residents Boiling Water, Hoping For All-Clear

Wednesday, April 16th 2014, 5:35 pm
By: News On 6

Residents in a Payne County small town have been warned about their drinking water after traces of E. coli were found in separate tests.

It also has forced them to close the school.

The problem was first discovered over the weekend, which caused officials to warn city residents. More tests found more E. Coli, and now everyone is required to boil their water.

Sue Rhoades and Paul Welch have to be very careful with their water.

"I boil it for cooking," Rhoades said. "I boil it for my pets."

The City of Yale is telling all of its 500-plus residents to boil the water before drinking or cooking.

Rhoades has been watching her great-granddaughter, Zoey, which adds one more layer to an already challenging situation.

"The boiling of the water does not bother me, it's more the bathing her and making sure she doesn't get the water in her face and her nose and hands and stuff," she said.

The city ran a routine test on its water last Friday. Over the weekend, it learned that trace amounts of E. coli were found and warned residents.

After another round of tests, the city found more coliform bacteria, which can be a sign of E. coli, and it ordered a mandatory order telling residents they must boil water.

On Wednesday, the Department of Environmental Quality began its own testing of the city's water supply to look for the source.

"I just hope nobody gets sick over it," Yale city manager Richard Adams said. "Like I say, we're here to serve the community, and when we get into these situations, we want to hook up and find the problem and take care of it."

The boil order has forced the Dairy Hut and Chavas Mexican Restaurant to close their doors.

It's also caused Yale Schools to shut down for the third day in a row.

Welch said he bought 10 gallons of bottled water on Sunday and may have to buy more.

"The worst thing is when you have to brush your teeth," he said. "Trying to pour your bottled water over your toothbrush and then rinse your mouth out with a little bottle of water... hat's the hard part."

Rhoades said she'll make do until the order is lifted, but in the meantime, she's going to keep a close eye on little Zoey.

"I've heard about these things before and how dangerous they can be and how protective you need to be," Rhoades said.

It takes 24 hours for the test results from the DEQ to come back, so the boil order will stay in effect through at least Thursday.