Schools, Businesses Grapple With Contaminated Water From Kent County

Sep 23, 2013

A boil water order remains in effect for 25,000 customers of the Kent County Water Authority after tests showed the water was contaminated with E. coli bacteria

School was held Monday in West Warwick but it wasn’t completely business as usual.  Bottled water was trucked in Sunday afternoon, as soon as school officials learned of the problem with E. Coli bacteria in the water supply. And other changes were made to keep kids safe, according to Kenneth Townsend, the school department’s director of property services.

“Each of the bubblers in all of our schools have been covered over and bagged and signs put on them telling them not to drink the water. Precautionary measures were taken and the sinks were shut down,” said Townsend. “And signs were put above the sinks and the students have been told to wash their hands with hand sanitizer for now.”

The boil water order was a challenge for restaurants too. Briana Ferranti manages the Grille on Main in East Greenwich, one of the towns affected by the order. “We just purchase everything: water, soda, beverages, ice. We’re just not serving coffee because it uses the tap water. We deal with crises all the time so it’s OK,” said Ferranti.

Health Department officials said they don’t know why the Kent County water supply is contaminated. But the boil water order will remain in effect until at least Thursday because the state Health Department wants to see three consecutive days of normal test results.

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