Colonial Beach E. coli boil warning delay frustrates residents

Posted at 7:49 PM, Jul 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-23 19:49:34-04

COLONIAL BEACH, Va. -- At Kelsea’s Kitchen in Colonial Beach the doors were closed and the lights were out Wednesday.

Workers gathered on the patio. But not to wait on customers, rather to chat among themselves.

Owner Rick Davis explained his decision to shut down his popular restaurant after traces of E. coli in a recent water sample prompted Colonial Beach town leaders to require citizens and businesses to boil all water before drinking.

“I’m closing in the next couple of days until we find more answers. I don’t want anyone getting sick eating at my establishment,” Davis said.

Some homeowners are outraged to learn the July 8th sample tested positive and they didn’t find out from town officials until July 22.

"Wouldn't it have made more sense to alert us on the 8th, 9th, or 10th and let people be aware so we could take our own precautions," Bill Flammer questioned.

That was a sentiment echoed repeatedly when CBS 6 News went to Colonial Beach to investigate this story.

CBS 6 reporter Shelby Brown stopped at the town hall to try and connect with the mayor and town manager, but was told they were unavailable. When our crews tried to speak with the director of public works, we were told he was in the field and couldn't be reached.

CBS 6 News did catch up with two town council members who couldn't elaborate on the exact date that public works found out about the E. coli tainted water sample.

However, those members, Linda Brubaker and Wanda Goforth,  did say they too were only notified on July 22 -- the same as other citizens. The council members did say they believed the town acted promptly.

"I also got a phone call, an automated phone call from the town and most all citizens should have gotten it as well," Goforth added.

“If a sample was taken on the 8th and we (council members) weren't notified until the 22nd to let our citizens know, then I think our town did a great job of letting everybody know," Brubaker said.

As town crews flush pipes, increase chlorine and conduct follow up testing, folks there say they will continue to stock up on bottled water until they hear from the state that their water is safe to drink.

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