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Coliform Contamination Source Found!

Short Story?  Prudence Island’s water problems come directly from the wells.

On August 27, 2019, and September 24, 2019 Indian Spring Well #4 was tested and coliform was present.  On September 24, 2019, coliform was also present in the Army Camp well.

As always, the official state records can be found at: https://dwq.health.ri.gov:8443/DWW/

But the most interesting information is in the screen shot below:

When coliform is detected in the water, a “Level 2 Assessment” must be performed to attempt to identify the source of the contamination.  This time, video from the Indian Spring well taken in 2013 was reviewed, and finally the defect was identified.  This means that coliform from Indian Spring well #4 could be the explanation for many of the contamination problems over the last several years. (The full L2 report is available, but see the image below for the relevant excerpt.)

It also means that the boil water order will probably have to extend until the well defects are corrected, or treatment is installed.  (And while the likely Indian Spring defect has been identified, the presence of coliform in Army Camp well remains a mystery… stay tuned for the next L2A…)

What’s Going On?

The water system run by the Prudence Island Water District (PIWD) keeps failing water quality tests due to the presence of coliform bacteria (which is, in and of itself, harmless, but indicates that the system is experiencing contamination). Due to these frequent violations, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDoH) demanded that PIWD start chlorinating the water to kill bacteria. PIWD has fought against that plan, and has instead proposed a Cross Connection Control Plan, operating on the assumption that customers are to blame for the quality problems. This CCCP (yes, really) has a lot of complexity (and cost) and will probably not fix all of the problems. As of right now, there has not been a better plan offered to the public, but the goal of this web site is to collect and share as much information as possible so that Prudence Island Water District customers can start making informed decisions about how they want the issues with their drinking water to be resolved.