Petersburg residents no longer have to boil their municipal tap water. The latest test results came back negative for total coliform and E. coli bacteria Friday afternoon. The Alaska Department of Conservation subsequently lifted the boil water notice that had been issued the day before.
“It has been lifted and it is very much a relief,” said Borough Public Works Director Karl Hagerman Friday afternoon. On Thursday, Hagerman had his staff take four new samples of water after a routine water test showed the presence of E.coli, which can cause serious illness. Petersburg Medical Center’s lab found that all four of the new samples were free of the bacteria Friday.
Hagerman said it was hard to know what caused the positive results in the first place:
“We probably won’t ever really know the ultimate cause of the sample that showed positive for the bacteria but it must have had something to do with the sampling technique or the sample bottle or something with the lab. It’s really hard to say. We’re happy that the system’s proven to be not contaminated and we’re just happy to move forward at this point.”
Shortly after the boil water notice was put in place, both of Petersburg’s grocery stores were sold out of regular bottled water. The DEC lifted the notice around 3pm Friday.