E COLI in Long Beach!

On June 21, 2019, the Department of Health in Nassau County released a boil water advisory in Long Beach after E. coli bacteria was detected in a sample taken from the Long Beach water supply.

County officials instructed anyone who accesses the City of Long Beach water system to boil water for at least one minute before using it until otherwise advised. The state also set up three stations in the city to distribute prepacked water bottles to residents in need.

Remember that water should be boiled when it is going to be consumed but also if it is going to be used in preparing food, making ice, washing dishes, or brushing teeth. 

The Dangers of E. Coli 

Although no Long Beach residents were sickened from E. coli exposure as of yet, residents were cautioned to get rid of ice cubes they’ve already made and to boil water until further notice.  When E. coli contamination occurs, you should also avoid consuming any water, either purposely or accidentally, while bathing. Children should be supervised to make sure they do not drink any contaminated water.

If you are using a dishwasher, make sure you set it to the hot wash at temperatures no lower than 170 degrees. 

If you think you may have been exposed to the bacteria, you should contact authorities and obtain medical assistance immediately. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting 
  • Abdominal cramps

Who Else Was Affected by This Notice?

Long Beach was the only community affected by the E. coli contamination. However, as stated by state Senator Todd Kaminsky, who lives a short distance from the location at which the contaminated sample was gathered, “It’s important that every parent and every citizen and every visitor in Long Beach heed this warning loud and clear.”

Local businesses had to discard all contaminated materials, including anything that touched the water. All cooking water must be boiled under the threat of E. coli contamination, and disposable dishes are being used by many restaurants to avoid the build-up of dishes that cannot be washed with contaminated water.

As the community geared up for busy tourist events – like the Fourth of July and Pride Weekend – businesses and residents alike did their best to cope with this unfortunate contamination. 

Luckily, surrounding communities were not affected by the boil water order, with the contamination only affecting residents who access the Long Beach water system.

What Caused the E. coli Contamination?

It is unclear what caused the E. coli contamination, but it’s currently under investigation by the city of Long Beach and the health department. 

After a weekend spent flushing the system and increasing chlorine levels in the city water supply, all samples taken came back negative for E. coli. The order to boil all water was lifted on June 24, allowing residents and business owners to breathe a sigh of relief. This put an end to what could have been a long, frustrating ordeal for local residents.

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