N. Utah town without tap water days after weekend water contamination

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TRENTON (Cache County) — The people in a small Cache County town are under a boil order because their community water is contaminated. Two of the town’s springs were contaminated Saturday, and city leaders say it could be a week before residents can drink their tap water again.

The contamination happened when heavy rains washed surface water into two of the city's six springs, Trenton water manager Marla Trowbridge said. With that water came bacteria and parasites; an E. coli test read as high as 46 parts per billion.

"That tells you it is pretty bad,” Trowbrige said. “Any E. coli in the water, you shouldn't be drinking the water.”

Now drinking from the tap is off limits; and there’s no teeth brushing without bottled water.

"The biggest problem is teaching the kids,” said Kristine Lawler, who lives in Trenton. The whole situation makes her nervous, she said, because “I have a baby; and with her formula and stuff I have to mix, I'm nervous about that."

Wednesday night, she and other residents gathered near City Hall to fill jugs from a high-tech purification pump on loan from Logan-based purification company Aquamira.

"We were proactive about dealing with it, and now we know where to focus on fixing that major problem,” said Trowbridge, who is also a member of the Trenton City Council.

The short-term plan, she said, is to take the bad springs offline, clean the system, and get it running again without the contaminated springs.

"When we are E. coli-negative in a couple of samples, we will lift the boil order,” Trowbridge said.

Working with the state, city administrators hope to accomplish that within a week. Long-term, the town had already applied for a grant to overhaul one of those bad springs and plans to apply for emergency money to get the job done quicker.

For now, everybody seems to be rolling with it.


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Jed Boal


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