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E. coli detection spurs boil order

A total of 714 homes and businesses in or near the Raintree Plantation subdivision west of Hillsboro will remain under a water-boil order due to E. coli bacteria until Saturday at the earliest, officials say.

American Water Enterprises, the company that manages the water system, tested the water on July 14 and after finding the bacteria, issued the boil order on July 16 before taking steps to correct the problem, a company spokesman said.

In addition, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a boil order July 17, an agency spokesman said.

The boil order is still in effect, Patrick Dwyer, unit chief of public drinking water at the DNR’s St. Louis Regional Office, said on July 24.

Connie Hargis of the Jefferson County Public Sewer District, which oversees Raintree Plantation’s water system, said the DNR requires two consecutive days of tests indicating no E. coli in the system before a boil order can be lifted. She said it takes 24 hours to complete each test.

The Jefferson County Public Sewer District contracts with American Water Enterprises to manage the water system at Raintree Plantation, Hargis said.

Almost all of the system’s accounts are within the subdivision, although a few businesses along Route B just outside of the subdivision also use the system’s water, she said.

“The wells were disinfected,” Hargis said. “The water lines also were disinfected.”

David Kitzmiller, American Water Enterprises’ regional vice president of operations, said only some samples tested positive for E. coli.

“I don’t know if at any point anyone was in danger,” Kitzmiller said. “We took routine water samples and (E. coli) turned up in some samples, not all.”

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