Updated: Monday, 19 Jul 2010, 9:29 AM MDT
Published : Sunday, 18 Jul 2010, 11:30 PM MDT
SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) - Thousands of Socorro residents are taking extra precautions after the New Mexico Environment Department issued an E. coli contamination warning for the city’s water system.
Most Socorro residents, like Corina Taylor, are heeding the state's advice and using more bottled water to cook, clean and drink.
“I’ve been boiling water, boiling water and also using the water from the stores to make food,” Taylor said.
Taylor is worried that taking just a sip could be dangerous.
“I pour it out,” Taylor said.
City of Socorro Waste Water Superintendent Dixie Daniels said the contamination was found earlier this week in a source of water before it was disinfected.
“We received a call that one of our sources, Sedillo Springs, came back with E. coli,” Daniels said.
City officials believe the chlorination process, which is already in place, should kill off any lingering bacteria.
However, the state environment department wants to make sure that there is enough chlorine in that system to disinfect the contaminated water properly. The department told city officials the boil advisory will stay in place until that can be determined.
Daniels said a crew is now working almost non-stop to make sure it is.
“The Socorro production crew is monitoring chlorine level for disinfection every four hours,” Daniels said.
While they work to get Socorro back to normal, more people are stocking up on jugs of water. Taylor said she hopes for a quick fix.
“Well bottle water gets expensive when you just use it to drink it, much more having to cook with it,” Taylor said.
For now, Taylor's not taking any chances.
“I don't know I guess we even have to boil it before we wash dishes,” Taylor said. “I mean how bad is that e-coli anyway, it's pretty bad, no.”
City officials said Sedillo Springs is one of five sources that supply water to Socorro. The city said it’s now looking into new technology that will monitor the amount of chlorine disinfecting the water non-stop.
A meeting between the environment department and Socorro's water department is scheduled for Monday morning. City and state officials will then decide if it's safe to lift the boil advisory.