McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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June 19, 2013

E. coli found in Pittsburg water; town on boil order

McALESTER — Residents of the town of Pittsburg have been notified that Escherichia Coli, also known as E. Coli, has been found in their drinking water. All Pittsburg residents are advised to boil water before use.

“As part of their routine monitoring they were collecting water samples,” said Skylar McElhaney, public information officer for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. “Results of the testing on those samples revealed the presence of E. Coli.”

McElhaney said the DEQ advised Pittsburg to inform its residents to bring water to a full boil for at least one minute prior to consumption — which includes drinking, dish washing, teeth brushing and food preparation.

According to, “E. coli is a bacterium that is commonly found in the gut of endotherms (warm blooded organisms).” The website says some strains of E. Coli can cause serious infection and become life-threatening.

According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, Escherichia coli is:

“A species that occurs normally in the intestines of humans and other vertebrates, is widely distributed in nature, and is a frequent cause of infections of the urogenital tract and of neonatal meningitis and diarrhea in infants; enteropathogenic strains (serovars) of Escherichia coli cause diarrhea due to enterotoxin, the production of which seems to be associated with a transferable episome; the type species of the genus.”

Pittsburg will now have to take some steps to fix its water problem. “Now they will have to have water samples that indicate there is no more E. coli and that there is adequate disinfectant throughout the water system,” McElhaney said. “The public will be notified when the water is considered safe for human consumption again.”

Contact Rachel Petersen at

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