Some 107 residents of Rollins Ranch in Mountain Green have had a recent culinary water scare, although after testing, water officials now say their water is safe to drink.
On Tuesday the Cottonwood Mutual Water Company informed their Rollins Ranch customers of possible contamination after an illegal connection to the 8 inch water main was discovered. The water company took immediate action to terminate the illegal connection “for your safety,” they said in a letter to homeowners.
“We had an unauthorized connection that was made unsupervised,” said Mike Johansen of the Cottonwood Mutual Water Company. “The line was not properly disinfected.”
The company contacted the Utah Division of Drinking Water, who advised them to post a boil warning as a precaution due to the potential for contamination. The company informed residents of the need to boil drinking water for consumption and use bottled water for infant formula.
“It was localized, and we suspected there wasn’t contamination, but we want to err on the side of caution, health and safety,” Johansen said.
On Wednesday, bacteriological samples were tested and came back negative for both coliform and E. coli. Johansen said the company conforms to stringent monthly testing as required by the state. In addition, any time a water line is placed into service, it has to be properly disinfected and tested.
“We want to be cognizant of what is happening to our distribution system, and know when something happens,” Johansen said. “We have the fiduciary duty to protect the safety and health of our customers. It is paramount our customers can rely on when they turn on the tap, they can drink that water with confidence.”
In this case, the water company noticed the unauthorized connection prior to it being buried. When they contacted the state, the matter was escalated to the division director.
“They had never had this before,” Johansen said.
The company severed the connection to disinfect the capping. That section of the distribution service is now out of service until testing can be completed, but all water customers have water service currently.
Johansen admitted there are “ongoing issues that need to be resolved,” but that the company has regained control of the water distribution system.
“I don’t believe what happened was malicious or intended to hurt anybody,” Johansen said. “Nevertheless, it was unsupervised by the water company.”
He said residents should stay aware of and report any misuse or tampering of water line, including fire hydrants.
“All of us can be very vigilant in watching what is happening around us,” Johansen said. “It is very easy to contaminate a system. A home’s check valve can fail, cross contamination can happen.