Westfield residents advised to boil water before use - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Westfield residents advised to boil water before use

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A notice from the Westfield Water Resource Department warned residents Friday night to boil water before using it, after fecal matter was detected in one of the city's eight water wells.

"It's scary. To me, it's scary," said Westfield resident, Carrie Levasseur.

"How long is it going to last? What's going to happen down the road?" asked Westfield resident, Bill Bielanski.

Westfield residents were on high alert after learning about the dangerous discovery in their water.

"What do we do now? I just took a shower, and now I'm wondering what's all over my skin," said Levasseur.

Deputy Superintendent of the Westfield Water Resource Department, Francis Cain, said during a weekly test done on July 2, water from a well located in Westfield's western portion tested positive the contamination called Enterococci, a microbe which indicates that water has been contaminated with fecal matter.

"We found the source, we've eliminated it and we've taken it completely out of the system," said Cain.

More samples will still be tested, and an evaluation will be done to the water system.

While those tests are conducted, the department is issuing the drinking water warning to customers in the areas south of the Westfield River, and west of Shepard Street, Smith Ave, High Street and Southwick Road.

This means using water bottles, or boiling your water for at least one minute before using it to drink, prepare food, brush teeth or wash dishes.

When it comes to bathing, Cain said keep the water out of your eyes and mouth. Young children and those with open wounds should avoid bathing in the water if possible.

In addition, any beverages, baby formula, ice and uncooked foods made with tap water on or before July 2 should be thrown away.

The warning is not only to residents, but local businesses as well.

Kevin Tos is the manager of Bella Roma Pizzeria located on Southwick Road. He says he has notified his employees of the warning, and has told them to be more careful than usual when preparing food.

"We're going to have to boil hot water more than we usually do. If we boil it for 10 minutes before, we'll now boil it for 15 or 20 to make sure it's clear," said Tos.

The affected well has been taken offline, and additional chlorine will be added to the city's water system. A second well is also being investigated for possible contamination.

The water department will be re-testing the water on Saturday to see if any contaminants remain. The results of the test could take a couple of days, but residents will receive a phone call when it is all cleared.

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