Shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announced that the boil-water advisory that has been in place for customers of the Kent County Water Authority and for Potowomut customers of the City of Warwick Water since Sunday, has now been lifted.
The advisory was lifted following three consecutive days of water testing that revealed no threat of E. coli bacteria within the water supply.
“The response to this incident demonstrates just how well Rhode Island’s water systems and the public health system work,” said Michael Fine, MD, HEALTH Director. “At the first hint of a problem the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Kent County Water Authority responded to make sure that Rhode Islanders were not put in harm’s way. Our state has some of the cleanest, best water in the country, and this type of collaboration is one reason why.”
An investigation is still underway to determine why an initial test revealed the presence of coliform bacteria, which indicates the potential presence of disease-causing organisms. The tank that the positive sample was taken from will remain off-line while the investigation continues.
Affected customers should take certain precautions now that the advisory has been lifted.
Precautions for residential customers
Refrigerators with water dispensers/ice machines:
Water dispensers/ice machines must be cleaned and sanitized before use. Follow the manufacturer’s suggested sanitizing procedures in the operator’s manual. Procedures should include the following minimum requirements:
- Flush water dispenser for 3-5 minutes to purge the line;
- Run the ice machine for a minimum of 30 minutes;
- Discard the first batch of ice that is made; and
- Wash and sanitize the bin area.
Water treatment units:
Replace any water treatment filter cartridges.
Faucets and taps:
Any faucets or taps that have not been used during the water advisory should be flushed for 10 minutes to ensure that any contamination that may be present is removed.
Special instructions for food establishments
Follow the manufacturer’s suggested sanitizing procedures in your operator’s manual, or contact the soda company that installed the dispenser(s) to have them cleaned and sanitized.
Contact the company that installed the vending machine to have the machine properly cleaned and sanitized. This only applies to vending machines that are directly connected to the water system and are used to manufacture food.
Vegetable and fish sprays:
In-place spray units and units which periodically spray water on products to maintain freshness must be cleaned and sanitized prior to use. A 50 to 100 parts per million (ppm) chlorine solution or approved sanitizer should be flushed through the lines for at least 60 seconds.
All water cooling tanks must be completely flushed out prior to use.
For more information about measures to take after boil water advisories have been lifted, and for information in Spanish, see: