Boil water order lifted in Ranchos |

Boil water order lifted in Ranchos

by Merrie Leininger

Ranchos residents can breath easier (and drink easier, too) since the boil order was lifted Wednesday.

After the second test came back negative for E. Coli, the district lifted the boil order that had been in place since Friday, Aug. 20 after the second positive test.

District Manager Bob Spellberg said the district followed state requirements in notifying people and does not agree with critics who say GRGID should have made more of an attempt to contact residents.

“It depends on the severity of the incident, how severe the restrictions are. We used the minimum standards because it was isolated to one home and one faucet. If it had been a more serious event, we might have gone door to door,” he said. “We put it in the newspaper, KGVM had it Monday, and the TV picked it up that night. If it was something more, we would be prepared to do what we have to.”

Spellberg said while it is not unusual to get a contaminated water sample, this is the first time since the early 1980s that the water sample retest came back positive for E. Coli and the district had to issue a boil order.

According to a letter from Kinley Goodman of the Bureau of Health Protection Services to Spellberg, the E. Coli contamination was limited to one outdoor frost-free water faucet and the rest of the district’s water was protected by a blackflow device.

Once the first test came back positive for E. Coli, the district was required by the state to issue a suggestion that residents boil all drinking water.

They are then required to repeat a test within 24 hours. That test was done the following day, and once it came back positive for E. Coli, the district issued the boil order within 72 hours, as required.

“This office appreciates your prompt issuance of boil water order. Although the ultimate cause of the positive samples is likely attributable to a contaminated sampling location, it is desirable to be extremely conservative where public health issues are concerned. The boil water order was the required and appropriate response to this situation,” Goodman wrote.

Goodman seemed generally pleased with the way the Ranchos handled the situation.

“Your water system is designed correctly, constructed properly, and operated and managed well. This isolated incident does not negatively detract from the fact that the Gardnerville Ranchos is served by an excellent water utility,” he wrote.