Residents of North Attleborough and Plainville have been ordered to boil their tap water before using it after a water sample tested positive for E. coli, according to an advisory from the Town of North Attleborough’s Board of Public Works.
On Wednesday, the town was notified that a “raw water” sample — untreated — taken from the Whiting Treatment Facility the day before contained the bacteria, indicating the presence of feces, the advisory said.
Although water tested after treatment did not contain E. coli, the boil water order was enacted out of an abundance of caution, it said.
Since North Attleborough and Plainville share a water system and treatment facility, residents of both towns are advised to boil all water for one minute before using it for preparing food, drinking, brushing teeth, making ice, or washing dishes, the advisory said. Bottled water can also be used as an alternative.
Restaurants are ordered to boil their water for five minutes, the advisory said. Dishes should be washed at 150 degrees or hand-washed with warm, soapy water, and rinsed in warm water with one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water, according to the advisory.
Residents can wash their hands with tap water and soap, but should use alcohol-based hand sanitizer afterward to be safe, the advisory said. Clothing can be washed with tap water and residents may shower as long as they do not swallow the water.
Any ice, drinks, uncooked foods, and formula made with tap water on or before Wednesday, Sept. 21, should be thrown away, according to the advisory.
The North Attleborough well, known as “Plainville 4,″ is one of nine that supply drinking water to the town’s system, and the Board of Public Works is inspecting the wells to look for signs of contamination, the advisory said. Chlorine is being added to the water supply, which will continue to be tested.
Residents will be notified when they no longer need to boil their water, the advisory said.
The Town of North Attleborough will distribute bottled water to its residents at the Department of Public Works Garage at 240 Smith St. on Thursday from 3-7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the town’s website.
The Town of Plainville has set up its own bottled water pickup location at the Plainville Department of Public Works yard at 29 West Bacon St. on Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the town’s Facebook post.
This boil water order comes after E. coli was found in the water supplies of both Mansfield and Wilmington earlier this month. Residents of Mansfield and some parts of Foxborough were ordered to boil water from Sept. 9 to Sept. 14, while Wilmington residents did so from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10.