Opp water safe to drink

Published 12:03 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

Opp utility officials said Friday the city’s water supply is safe to drink, despite monitoring violations found by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

The Utilities Board of Opp recently sent out a notification to residents who use the city’s water to inform them that two of the 16 samples collected for ADEM testing in August showed the presence of coliform bacteria.

Coliforms are bacteria that are always present in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and are found in their wastes. They can also be found in plants and soil materials.

Jason Whitehead, well operator for the City of Opp, said the water is safe for folks to drink.

“It’s fine,” he said. “It’s just routine. Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indictor that other, potential harmful, bacteria may be present.”

The city’s standard is for no more than one of the samples collected to show the presence of coliform bacteria in a month’s time.

In addition, the city did not complete all monitoring for E. coli bacteria in the wells. As a result, the release stated “the city could not be sure of the quality of the drinking water during that time.”

E. coli is a species of bacteria normally present in the intestinal tract of humans and other animals; sometimes pathogenic, and can be a threat to food and water safety.

Whitehead said the water has since been tested, and there was no E. coli present in the water.

“We used follow-up samples, and everything was OK,” he said. “We would like to assure you that proper follow-up measures were taken, and that no coliform bacteria was detected in samples taken before and after the two samples that were suspect. We believe the error was that of a sampling error and would like to assure you that we continue to have excellent quality drinking water.”

Opp officials say it’s safe for residents to drink the city’s water. | Courtesy photo