Letter warns of water problems in Olive Branch - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Blair Simmons

Letter warns of water problems in Olive Branch

Olive Branch residents are expressing concern after a letter sent from the city's Public Works department informed citizens of a problem with the city's water supply.

Once a month, the department takes samples of Olive Branch's drinking water.  In October, at least four samples came back positive for coliform contamination. 

"At no time was there any e-coli, which is totally a different form of bacteria," said Rob Berry, Director of Public Works in Olive Branch. "That seems to be people's main fear."

Barry said the problems was traced to a water line that hadn't been flushed out in a while. The problem was cleared up the same day it was detected, but by law, they have to send out letters notifying the public about the bacteria.
However small the risk, Berry said, there was a potential danger.

"The reason they ask us to notify people is if it is if it's present, it's possible some more serious forms are present," he said.

The letter clearly states that "this is not an emergency," but Barry said many people skimmed right over that and focused on one word: E-Coli.

"That word scares people," he said. 

Thus, Barry has been fielding calls explaining the situation for days.

Unless you saw the letter, Barry said, the bacteria was virtually undetectable.  The water still smelled and tasted the same.

"Actually, the say they were saying it was bad, I was thinking how good it was," Olive Branch resident Donny Oxner said.

"You probably could've drank the water all day long for three days and not get sick," Barry said. "But we don't wanna take the chance."

Several samples been taken since the contamination was found, and they have all been safe.

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