Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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November 20, 2009

Oswego County Health Department Issues

The Oswego County Health Department has issued a boil water order for customers of the Orwell Town water system. Customers should boil all water for drinking and cooking purposes.

Due to an equipment malfunction, untreated water was released into the distribution system, which could result in inadequate chlorine levels in the drinking water. Chlorine is a disinfectant that is used to destroy harmful microbes that could be in the drinking water.

Residents are advised not to drink the water without boiling it first for one minute, or to use bottled water certified for sale by the New York State Department of Health. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills most bacteria and other organisms in the water.

“Harmful microbes in drinking water can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Dr. Dennis Norfleet. “Inadequate disinfection may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. The symptoms above are not just caused by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you should seek medical advice.”

The equipment has been repaired and water samples are being taken today and tomorrow, Nov. 19. It is anticipated that the boil water order could be lifted by Friday, Nov. 20, pending results of the water samples. Customers will be informed when tests show that chlorine levels have returned to normal, no harmful bacteria are present, and they no longer need to boil their water.

For more information, please contact the Town of Orwell at 298-5242 or the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3557 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3557.

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