What’s in the City of Lincoln’s Water, and How Serious is it?

Local News

The people of Lincoln are frustrated after a boil water alert issued Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, the city’s residents said the water was cloudy and discolored, and several told KX News they felt like it was not drinkable.

City officials said they tested the water every day and it is safe to consume, despite its appearance.

Friday, the City Engineer said the same thing: “The water is safe, but we understand that it’s not as pristine as what they’re used to seeing”.

Then, Saturday, after a positive test for a bacteria called coliform, Mayor Gerarld Wise issued a boil water alert. Residents reacted with anger and frustration in the more than 70 comments on the Mayor’s Facebook live video, announcing the alert around 4:00 p.m.

This comes after the city was without water in late November, due to a water main break.

Today, KX News did some digging into what this bacteria in the City’s new water supply line is, and how serious it might be.

Check out this chart from the Washington State Department of Health:


The CDC says most coliform bacteria are a natural part of the environment, found in plant material, water, and soil. They do not cause disease, but they do indicate the water may be contaminated by soil or feces, meaning a risk of waterborne disease is present

Some rare types of coliforms, like the E.Coli strain noted by the orange dot in the chart above, can cause serious illness. Although, according to the CDC, most of these outbreaks are from eating undercooked food.

Cases from contaminated drinking water are possible, but they are rare.

As we reported yesterday, if you live in the City of Lincoln, continue to boil your water until further notice.

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