Backwash procedure on filter causes East Lansing boil water advisory

Published: Aug. 5, 2016 at 11:39 AM EDT
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People on the East Lansing and Meridian Township water system are being told to boil their water before using it Friday.

High levels of turbidity were released into the water system after an employee back washed a filter still in service.

"We have a limit on turbidity that we can have come out of our plant, we exceeded that limit this morning," said Clyde Dugan, manager at the East Lansing - Meridian Water and Sewer Authority.

Turbidity or cloudiness in the water is not harmful however, it's possible microbes were released into the water which could bring side effects.

"The microbial contaminants that we are talking about could produce diarrhea, nausea, and cramping," said Dugan. "If anyone is experiencing that or has any concerns they should consult their physician."

Buddies Bar and Grill in East Lansing is taking the advisory seriously.

"We got two phone calls and luckily we have good customers who came and told us to keep us updated," said Erin Wibert, a manager at Buddies Bar and Grill.

As soon as Wibert learned of the advisory, she removed water and pop from customers tables.

"I actually just got back from the store and bought pop and a bunch of ice," said Wibert. "We emptied our ice machines and are boiling water before putting it in food."

Friday night is one of the busier nights for Buddies Bar and Grill.

Customers don't seem to mind the inconvenience.

"They went out of their way to make sure that everyone was aware of the problem and fixed it as soon as they could," said Ali Delau.

The plant is now back to normal operation. In the meantime, crews are waiting for tests results to come back to determine when the advisory can be lifted.

"Bring the water to a boil for at least a minute and then cool it prior to use," said Dugan. "That would provide safety against any microbial contamination that may of occurred as result to this event."

During the advisory, you should use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, cooking, and brushing teeth.

The water is okay to shower in as long as you don't swallow it.

The advisory is expected to last 24 to 48 hours.

for a map of the areas effected by the boil water advisory.