Boil water alert called off for Ocean Bay Park, Point O' Woods

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A boil-water alert for two Fire Island communities was called off Monday afternoon after E. coli bacteria was no longer detected in test samples.

The Suffolk County Water Authority, which issued the alert Saturday, said the water is now safe to drink for residents of Ocean Bay Park and Point O'Woods.

The alert had been issued after bacteria was found in water supply samples collected at Ocean Bay Park.

The authority then began testing its wells and distribution systems, including the pipes, to find the source of the contamination.

Bacteria can sometimes enter at the drinking water source or get into test samples as they are collected, SCWA officials said. It can also seep in through a break in the pipes or during a failure in the water treatment process, officials said.

But there has been no indication that any of those problems occurred and the search for the cause of the contamination continues, SCWA officials said.

"We flushed out the whole system just in case," James Gaughran, chairman of the water authority, said as he passed out flyers about the lifted ban to Fire Island residents Monday. "We feel absolutely confident that everything is fine and safe."

He said he and the 20 or so water authority employees, including top executives, have been passing out the flyers and also asking if anyone got sick. So far, nobody has reported getting sick due to the water, he said.

For more information, visit the agency's website at scwa.com or call 631-665-0663.

With Scott Eidler

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