Tech May Have Contaminated E-Coli-Positive Broken Arrow Water Sample

Monday, June 27th 2011, 11:50 am
By: News On 6 & Emory Bryan, News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- The City of Broken Arrow said the technician who made the initial tests that showed E. coli present in the city's water supply may have contaminated the sample.

06/24/2011 Related Story: E. Coli Found In Broken Arrow Water Supply 

That tech went home ill shortly after taking the tests and follow-up samples came back clear.

The issue of possible E. coli contamination was discovered through routine sampling handled by the water department.

"The water is safe, we're very confident the water is safe," said Stephanie Higgins, with the City of Broken Arrow.

Broken Arrow collects 90 water samples each month. Last week, two of the samples tested positive for E. coli. Both samples were taken between 101st and 111th, East of Elm.

To collect the samples, the city literally goes around to houses in Broken Arrow, 90 of them each month, and uses a bottle to get a small sample. They think somehow in that process last week, the technician taking the sample somehow accidentally contaminated the bottle.

"I don't know if we'll ever know what happened. It could have been contaminated during the sampling process, something in that spigot, that flushed into the sample, we're not sure what caused it," Higgins said.

The city said every sample taken in the week since has been fine, but they're ordering more tests than usual to keep checking.

Leslie Powell said she just moved from a town where boil orders were common.

"So whenever I heard that I though great, we'll have go back to boiling water and buying bottled, it's kind of scary," Powell said.

The City said Monday it is fine for children to play in the water and it is safe to drink.

The city took more samples on Monday. It expects to get those results on Wednesday. Officials said they're confident it was a case of contaminated samples, not contaminated water.