The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has ordered the 149 residents in the western Iowa community of Wiota to boil their water until further notice. Wiota Water Department Supervisor Mark Hansen says samples from the city’s well earlier this week came back positive for E. Coli bacteria. Hansen says he has no idea how the water from the well located east of town in Cass County became contaminated.
Hansen says he’s never had a bad sample with fecal coliform, and speculates it may have leached in from a pipe somewhere, but says he really doesn’t know. Hansen says when the samples he sent to the Hygienic lab in Iowa City came back positive, and went to the DNR’s field office and picked-up four more test kits.
He says when you get a positive test, you have to test upstream and downstream of the area that tested positive, and all the other samples came back positive, indicating it’s a system-wide problem. He says until they find the source of the problem, measures are being taken to make the water safe, but they will take time.
Hansen says they will "shock-chlorinate" the well and hopefully that will solve the problem. Matt Rhodes, an environmental Field Specialist with the DNR’s Atlantic field office says residents should take precautions until the water is declared safe. He says any water used for human consumption needs to be boiled for one minute. Wiota’s water supply comes from a well located east of town.