Water taken from two separate wells that supply water to businesses including Subway and Ming Moon were found to be contaminated with total coliform this week and all businesses in those buildings may have to be closed, according to Ryan McCammon, a senior sanitarian at Ledge Light Health District Thursday.
McCammon said Ming Moon was closed Wednesday as a result of the findings and they’re in the process of closing all the businesses located in that building, which is 756 Colonel Ledyard Highway.
“Total coliform is an indicator bacteria,” said McCammon. “It basically says there's something in the water system that shouldn't be there.”
Private service wells are tested quarterly, said McCammon who said the well tested on Friday, Sept. 21 and came back positive for total coliform and E.coli. A re-sampling done on Monday Sept. 24 confirmed only total coliform.
McCammon said the second test wasn’t done at the same sample spot in the well so, to play it safe, they’re going with the first results that indicate a presence of E. coli.
“It can't be in any type of drinking water,” said McCammon of the bacteria. “That source needs to be found and the system needs to be cleaned or hooked up to public water supply.”
McCammon said the property owners have been notified of the necessary next steps. 756 Colonel Ledyard Highway is owned by Patrick W. and Mark J Anhalt, who have a mailing address in East Lyme. Their neighbors, 758 Colonel Ledyard Highway is owned by Hope Valley Happy Acres, Inc., which has a Ledyard post office box.
According to the Connecticut Environmental Health Association, “coliform bacteria do not generally cause disease by themselves, however, if they are found to be present in a water sample it is assumed that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) may also be present.”
The website also says that few strains of E.coli cause disease but nevertheless, precautions should be taken so that people don’t consume water or food prepared with contaminated water.
Subway is on a separate well located at 758 Colonel Ledyard Highway, and was also found to be contaminated with total coliform and McCammon said they’ll be re-sampling soon.
McCammon said the Department of Public Health and Ledge Light are in the process now of deciding whether to close the business or help them transition to a bottled water system in the interim.
“It's a lower level of contamination,” he said.