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Boil Order to Last Until at Least Friday, System Being Flushed Now

The boil order for Wenham Water Department customers will last until at least Friday as the Fire Department assists in flushing the system on Tuesday evening.

The is expected to last through at least Friday, according to Water Superintendent Erik Mansfield.

The order to boil water for at least a minute before drinking it or using it to cook was issued just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The regular monthly test taken on Monday came back on Tuesday at 3 p.m. showing that there was E. coli in the water, according to Mansfield. E. coli is found in the feces of warm-blooded animals and causes an upset stomach and other intestinal issues in humans.

“It could be a mouse, snake, anything,” he said of the source of the E. coli.

Before that, tests on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 did not show any E. coli in the water.

“Everything was clean and OK then,” he said.

Treatment of the water with chlorine had already begun by 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The was assisting the water department to flush the water system by opening hydrants after the chlorine was added to the system.

“We are going to resample tomorrow,” Mansfield said.

It will take two clean tests – which each take 24 hours to come back – before the E. coil order will be lifted. The earliest the order could be lifted would be Friday, after clean tests on Wednesday and Thursday.

It is the second boil water order in the town in recent years. There was a boil water order put in place in August 2008 for the existence of total coliform bacteria in the water, but not E. coli.

The source of the E. coli in the water is undetermined right now, Mansfield said.

“The test of the well is inconclusive,” Mansfield said, adding that it did not show any sign of bacteria.

One part of the search to identify the source is to make sure there is not a dead animal near the well.

“It may be an isolated incident and it may not be,” he said.

Several years ago, improvements were done to raise the well buildings to reduce the chance of incidents such as that.

One of the town’s three water commissioners also plans to speak to the Board of Selectmen at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night at .

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