BLACKFOOT — A boil water order has been issued on the east side of the railway tracks in Blackfoot after a routine water sample came back positive for E. coli. The bacteria can make residents sick and are especially a concern for people with weakened immune systems.

Officials warn residents living in that area to not drink the water without boiling it first.

“Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice,” according to a city news release. “Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.”

E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Human pathogens in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems, according to the release.

The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. Anyone experiencing any of these persistent symptoms may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice from their healthcare providers about drinking the water.

City officials say they are running a comprehensive assessment of the water system to correct the cause of the contamination. They are also chlorinating and flushing the water system, and will continue to sample the water for signs of the bacteria.

The city will inform residents when there is no longer a need to boil water. Officials anticipate resolving the problem within seven days.

For more information, please contact the Blackfoot Water Department at (208) 785-8608 or at 10 West Walker Street in Blackfoot. Its hours are Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by bacteria and other disease-causing organisms are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1 (800) 426-4791.

Be safe and make sure to boil your water or consider buying a water filtration system like the AquaOx Water Filter.

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