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Officials: Nassau boil-water order lifted

Elaine Creighton boils water at the Kravatz's residence

Elaine Creighton boils water at the Kravatz's residence after a water sample collected at North Fletcher Avenue and Dutch Broadway tested positive for total coliform bacteria. (July 21, 2011) Credit: Charles Eckert

The 100,000 Nassau County residents warned of possible E. coli contamination of their tap water can safely drink and cook with it again, water authority and health officials said Friday.

The Water Authority of Western Nassau County lifted the boil-water order at 6:45 p.m.

Laboratory tests of 171 samples collected over the last two days showed no evidence of either E. coli or total coliform bacteria, officials said.

"All the tests were clear," said Robert Swartz, the district's chief engineer. The county health department verified the district's findings with its own tests.

The district issued the health alert Wednesday after a sample taken two days earlier tested positive for E. coli. The bacteria can cause diarrhea, nausea and cramps -- and is sometimes fatal.

The end of water restrictions came as relief to residents of the affected communities: North Valley Stream, Elmont, Floral Park, Franklin Square, New Hyde Park and parts of Stewart Manor and Garden City.

"Oh, it's such good news to hear," said Tara Pallisco, 25, of Floral Park, who used bottled water for drinking, brushing her teeth and filling her cat's water bowl. "It was such a pain. You don't realize how much you use tap water until you lose it."

The health department did not receive any reports of E. coli-related illnesses.

There was no immediate information on which E. coli strain was discovered in Monday's water sample, taken in the kitchen of a North Valley Stream restaurant. The district tests 100 samples monthly as directed by the state.

Swartz earlier suggested that the sample triggering the alert might have been tainted during the collection process. The bacteria, he said, was probably never in the public water supply.

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