BELDING, Mich. (WOOD) — Belding residents are being urged to boil their water after contamination was found in the system Friday.
According to Ionia County health officials, E. coli was found in the water.
It’s unclear what caused the problem with the water, but officials say to boil it before using it.
“Oh, you don’t realize how much you need water, especially in the restaurant business,” said Cathy Flanigan, who bought Millie’s Chat n’ Chew in Belding in March.
Earlier Friday, traces of the bacteria were found in the water supply, leading to an immediate notification to residents.
Belding Department of Public Works Director Ernie Thomas told 24 Hour News 8 there is no immediate cause known for the contamination, but the water is being tested by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to make sure that it is safe to drink again.
Thomas said there has to be two straight days that show the water is clear before the boil water advisory is lifted, meaning boiling water will be a way of life in Belding through at least Monday.
This comes just as the city’s downtown is getting ready for the Gus Macker Basketball event, a busy time for restaurants like Millie’s Chat n’ Chew.
“Well, we have to boil water to wash dishes. I’ve had to go purchase canned fountain drinks and boil water for coffee,” Flanigan said.
E. coli can be nasty, causing intestinal distress, diarrhea and in some cases more severe symptoms. There have been no reports of illness in Belding, but everyone is urged to be safe.
“So we just keep buying a lot of bagged ice,” Flanigan said. “It does get expensive.”
The health department says all city residents should boil their water for at least a minute before use to kill the bacteria. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and preparing food until further notice.
“I don’t know how long this is gonna go but we’ll just keep doing what we been doing,” Flanigan said.
The city says it will inform residents when water tests come back clear and the boil water advisory is lifted.
For more information, visit the city’s website or contact the Belding’s Public Works Department at 616.794.1340.