- Associated Press - Monday, August 25, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Ellsworth Air Force Base officials are investigating why it took three days for them to be notified that E. coli bacteria had been found in the base’s water supply.

Base residents were told Saturday to boil water before drinking it or using it to wash dishes or brush teeth. The order is expected to be in place until sometime Tuesday. About 8,000 people live on the base near Rapid City.

The original water sample that tested positive for E. coli was drawn Tuesday, base spokeswoman Rachel Allison told the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/1p5mMiI ). Results from the base’s bioenvironmental engineering unit typically are known within 24 hours, but the report of a positive test didn’t surface until Friday. A second sample was immediately taken and also tested positive, and officials put the boil order in place.

The base is investigating whether proper procedures were followed, according to Allison.

“The common-sense timeline doesn’t match up with what happened,” she said.

E. coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, headaches and other ailments, but the base did not immediately report any illnesses.

The cause of the E. coli in the base water was not immediately determined. Base civil engineers, officials with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and others devised a treatment plan.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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