VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta officials reassured citizens that the city's water was safe to drink Wednesday after the city announced Tuesday night that some water samples tested positive for Coliform bacteria in July.
"We had a violation of the drinking water regulation," explained Valdosta Utilities Director Henry Hicks. "We had detected some Coliform bacteria in one of our regular sample routines that we do throughout the year."
Coliform bacteria is not harmful, but it does indicate that other bacteria that is harmful could be present in the water. "There's no real health issue associated with Coliform. CDC has never reported any illness, outbreak associated with Coliform. But, it means that the potential is there for other types of contamination," said Hicks.
Upon discovering the Coliform, the city properly reported the finding to the Environmental Protection Division. The city continued to test water samples throughout the city for two to three days after the initial discovery until the samples no longer tested positive for Coliform.
No harmful bacteria was ever found. Hicks said there are a number of ways Coliform bacteria could make it into the water, and emphasized that it does not automatically mean the presence of harmful bacteria. "All the water leaving the treatment plant is zero Coliform. It could be picked up in the system from a cross connection, a well connection. It could be from a repair that was made into the system where somebody tapped into the system," Hicks said.
All Valdosta City water customers will receive a letter with their October water bill explaining the issue. The city has also posted the letter on its website, www.valdostacity.com, and residents can also contact Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Jason Barnes at 229-333-1832 with any questions.