O’Neill residents boiling water after E. coli found in city’s water system

Residents of O’Neill, Nebraska, are under a boil-water notice after E. coli bacteria were found in the city’s public water system.

Residents have been urged to boil all water for a minute before using, city officials said on a Facebook posting. Use of bottled water also was encouraged.

Officials said that until further notice, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

Bathing and showering are OK if the water is not ingested, officials said.

The E. coli bacteria found in O’Neill’s water system indicated contamination by human or animal waste.

O’Neill water department officials said the E. coli bacteria contamination may have occurred during water treatment or distribution. Officials said they are working to identify the source of the problem.

Officials also said that the city has begun disinfecting the water system. They said O’Neill residents will be informed when tests show no additional contamination and it is safe to stop boiling water.

E. coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches and other symptoms.

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