By David Liu
Residents whose tap water is provided by Portland Water Bureau, Burlington, Palatine Hill, and Valley View Water District should not drink tap water without boiling it first because tap water in these districts are potentially contaminated by harmful bacteria, Portland Water Bureau said in a public notice posted on its website on Nov 28.
The notice was issued because E. coli was detected in water samples collected from Reservoir 3 in Washington Park during a routine water testing on Wednesday Nov 25, E coli contamination in Reservoir was confirmed on Nov 27.
Ingestion of food and water tainted with E coli may result in an illness with symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. At high risk for the illness are infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune system such as cancer and HIV patients.
It remains unknown what specific strain the E coli is. Most strains of E coli are harmless, but it is unknown whether this strain is E coli O157:H7, which is a pathogen that can cause E coli illness. Portland Water Bureau did not report any case of E coli infection due to the contamination.
“The affected area includes much of the City of Portland west of the Willamette River and customers who receive water bills from the palatine Hill Water District, Valley View Water District and Burlington Water District,” PWB said in a statement.