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Rockford under boil water advisory after treatment equipment fails
ROCKFORD, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) The City of Rockford is dealing with a health alert after bacteria was detected in the citys water supply.
Now the Kent County Health Department is warning people not to use the water without boiling it fist because it contains traces of e-coli and coliform bacteria. The tainted water supply is also forcing multiple schools to close on Thursday.
The closures include: Meadow Ridge Elementary, Parkside Elementary, Valley View Elementary, North Rockford Middle, River Valley Academy and the child care administration building.
Rockfords City Manager, Michael Young, says in 18 years with Rockford hes never seen a problem like this.
To help deal with the issue, Ice Mountain donated more than 10,000 bottles of water, which they handed out at the fire department until around 9:00 pm.
To add sting to the situation, the city says that upgrades made to Rockfords water system less than a year ago were supposed to ensure that things like this wouldnt happen.
We put in a new, automated system to be more efficient and to deal with problems, said Young.
However, Young says after the long weekend, it was clear there was a problem.
We came in Tuesday morning, doing our normal checks and we found that the chlorine pump was not working, said Young.
Young says the fail safe had failed as well.
The back-up alarm that should have called us out when the pump went off didnt work either, said Young.
Thats why Rockford spent the evening giving out thousands of bottles of water. We spoke to one mother who says she found out about it at an unfortunate time.
Earlier this morning after I gave my kids a bath, said Nicole Falatic, So I was pretty freaked out.
Falatic has a four year old and a two year old. She says shes not taking any chances until the city gives the all clear.
Continue to give them bottled water and stay away from any running water whatsoever, said Falatic.
Young says he expects it will be two more days before the problem is solved.
Weve been flushing the system, weve been chlorinating the system, said Young. We need two clean tests before we can lift the notices.
The health department says until the boil water advisory is lifted, people should treat their tap water like lake water. Its most likely safe to shower in, but for drinking or washing your hands and face, it needs to be boiled for at least a minute first.
The City of Rockford is providing regular updates on its facebook page, which can be found here.