E. Coli is Unwelcome New Neighbor on Mercer Island

At 3 p.m. today the City posted a notice that residents should boil all drinking water because routine water tests showed the presence of the E. Coli virus. Best guess from the City is this alert will last through Monday at least.

Ha ha Bellevue, thanks.

I found out a little after 4, much the way many folks probably did: from a neighbor. I texted some friends on the Island and told another neighbor. Yet another neighbor sent their son door to door to make sure people knew.

Great to see neighbors reaching out, but it does seem that there’s got to be a better way to alert folks for something that might kill kids or older residents. The first neighbor found out through a text alert from King 5. Sign up for those if you want to get such alerts.

There are no hard numbers of what the concentration of E.Coli was discovered to be, nor what’s a safe amount. At this point the safest thing is to boil or buy any water that goes in your mouth, including brushing teeth. So far, no reports of sickness. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Two really interesting notes in the Seattle Times article. First,
Water is delivered to the island through a 16-inch pipe that runs from the Eastside over Mercer Slough and along the Interstate 90 bridge, but no signs of E. coli have been found in the utility’s water system outside Mercer Island, said SPU spokesman Andy Ryan.

One pipe for the whole Island. That’s a less redundant system than I would have expected.

Second interesting note:
“We are very confident that the E. coli originated on Mercer Island and is contained on Mercer Island,” he said. “In other words, it can’t get back to the rest of our system.”

How’s that happen? I guess that’s the question right now.

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