Lake of the Woods community members are being asked to boil their drinking water because potentially harmful E. coli bacteria were detected in their system’s water.

The bacteria were detected Friday, Oct. 17 in a water sample collected for routine monthly water quality monitoring. The residential community’s water system serves 324 homes with a population of around 870 people.

The State Department of Health is working closely with the water system operator to try to find the source of contamination and eliminate it.

The agency advises residents to boil any tap water they will use for drinking, preparing food, washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice. To kill germs, they said to heat water to a brisk boil for one minute, and allow the water to cool before drinking.

According to resident Buddy Wise, on Oct. 18 the Lake of the Woods water manager posted advisory notices on home doors throughout the private community.

Wise said they were advised to boil their water and told that chlorine was added to the water system to kill the bacteria.

The note said the manager would be checking the system and will repost notices when the water is safe, Wise said.

“You can tell they added chlorine to the system because you can really smell it while you’re in the shower,” Wise said.

Residents who have questions about their water quality can call (253) 884-2088 or (253) 884-4703.

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Source: WSDOH