Water Testing Underway after Fulton Well Collapses; Boil Water Order Remains in Effect

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City workers are testing the city’s water supply today to try to end the boil water advisory issued Saturday when one of the city’s oldest water wells collapsed.

A metal sleeve inside the K-1 well caved in, according to Mayor Ron Woodward.  He said a water department worker noticed a sinkhole next to the well on Saturday.  A look inside the 30 foot well revealed the breach.

“When the sleeve gave way, some of the dirt surrounding it got into the system,” Woodward said.

The dirt itself is not a health hazard, Woodward said, but organic matter in the dirt could pose a problem.

As a result, the city issued a boil water order for any water used for drinking or cooking.  Water should be boiled for a full minute before using it for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes, according to the advice provided by the city.

The K-1 well is not providing water to the city now, Woodward said.  Workers spent the weekend flushing water lines to try to remove as much turbidity as possible.  Water is coming from the city’s other wells at Great Bear Farm.

The boil water order will be lifted when the city shows that two consecutive days of tests show no problems.  The test results have to be confirmed by a state-certified lab.  A lab in Syracuse is doing the confirmation, Woodward said.

As there were no labs open over the weekend, the first water sample tests are today.  If today’s and tomorrow’s tests are clean, Woodward said he expects to be able to lift the boil water order on Wednesday.

As for the K-1 well, Woodward said the well cannot be abandoned because it provides so much water.  The city is checking to see where it can find another metal sleeve for the well.

Below is the advice provided by the city for dealing with the boil water order:

What should I do?

  • DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice.
  • Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.;
  • The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.