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Health officials to host forum on Long Beach water

Bottled water was handed out to Long Beach

Bottled water was handed out to Long Beach residents after E.coli contamination was found in the city's water supply in June. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The state of Long Beach drinking water will be discussed at a July 24 public forum, several weeks after a sample tested positive for E.coli and prompted a three-day boil water order.

The Long Beach Department of Public Works, the Nassau County Department of Health and the state health department will give a presentation on water quality and answer questions from residents.

Officials confirmed a positive E.coli test June 21 at a home on Grand Avenue. Residents were ordered to boil their water and chlorine was doubled to 2 parts per million to kill the bacteria.

Long Beach school officials closed three elementary schools for one day after they said a student tested positive for E.coli infection. State health testing is still pending to confirm the child’s illness and to determine if there is any link to the city’s water supply.

The forum is sponsored by State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Long Beach city officials, Legis. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) and Assemb. Missy Miller (R-Atlantic Beach).

Kaminsky said questions need to be answered about the source of the E.coli contamination, the state of the city’s water infrastructure and the safety of increased chlorine levels.

“I think that during the E.coli emergency, water quality in Long Beach came to the front of everyone’s mind and a lot of questions raised about the state of water and whether it was OK to drink,” he said. “I know too many families now who won’t drink from the faucet. I think questions need to be answered on the record.”

Long Beach city officials said a robocall was issued to residents one hour after they received a positive test for E.coli. All water tested negative June 25, and samples are taken weekly for routine testing.

City officials said the contamination was “not a systemwide issue” and unrelated to the city’s water treatment plant. Long Beach is maintaining 1.5 ppm of chlorine which can lead to odor and taste to tap water, officials said.

City and state officials said the chlorine levels are safe to consume. City officials said Friday they have not received any complaints or reports of illness from chlorine levels. Officials cautioned that some residents using pool testing kits for chlorine were not accurate when measuring tap water.