E. coli found in Preble County surface water

Elevated levels of the bacteria, Escherichia coli (E.coli) has been found in surface water in Preble County. (WDTN Photo/Neil Black)

EATON, Ohio (WDTN) – Elevated levels of the bacteria, Escherichia coli (E.coli) has been found in surface water in Preble County.

Testing in Twin and Lanier townships registered significantly beyond EPA standards, according to published reports.

E. coli is the name of a germ, or bacterium, that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. You get an E. coli infection by coming into contact with the feces, or stool, of humans or animals. This can happen when you drink water or eat food that has been contaminated by feces.

Preble County Commissioners recently met with officials from the Ohio EPA on this matter.

Officials said the drinking water quality in the area has not been compromised.

The Ohio E-P-A was alerted to a smell and possible problem a few years ago. Several samples over a three year period show levels remain high and now action needs to be taken. Residents there are a bit nervous of health concerns but also how much it will cost to fix the problem.

Rose Holt says, “It is a concern to all of us about this water.”  Rose Holt lives in Glenwood and has heard of the water woes.   She lives a few houses down from the stream in which high e.coli bacteria counts were found.

According to the Ohio EPA an acceptable limit is 576 counts per one hundred milliliters.
Several samples were taken in May of 2010 and one was more than 120 thousand.  More samples were taken in August 2013 to see if conditions had changed.  One of the eight samples registered 87 hundred count per 100 milliliters the other 57 hundred.

Due to the high numbers the Ohio EPA has now issued a Public Health Nuisance.

“Our concern is more on the public health side from people who may come in contact with the water, playing fishing reach in with their hands and if they have a cut on their hands and the bacteria could get in there,” Dina Pierce Ohio EPA spokesperson.

More than two hundred and fifty residences are in the concerned area.  The problem stems from an old septic system that is now failing. Fixing the sewer system would normally work but not in this case.

“That’s really not an option here the lots are not big enough here to put new septic systems in we believe it’s going to take some sort of a centralized sewer system here,” Pierce says.

Now the Preble county board of commissioners will have to decide what route they want to take.
Either way it’s going to be expensive and may hit Rose Holt’s pocketbook.

“Ecoli is a pretty bad sure I am concerned about it and it sure be worth consideration city water or sewer if we can afford it bc that would be better for all of us,” Holt said.

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