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Water contamination shuts down Greenville restaurants

Posted June 26, 2008

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— The Pitt County health department ordered all restaurants that use city water to close after testing found fecal contamination in the water system.

Traces of fecal coliform were found in water samples on Wednesday, prompted about 500 restaurants to shut down, utility officials said.

Further test results expected Thursday afternoon will determine whether the restaurants will remain closed Friday.

"It's a big impact," Brad Morton, the assistant general manager of a Ham's restaurant said. "It hurts all the way around. It has a big ripple effect across the board on everybody."

Utility department officials said they think they have isolated the source of contamination to a three-mile stretch of pipe on County Line Road in Greenville, but they have not said what caused the contamination.

Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source or because of a break in the distribution system or a failure in the water treatment process, officials said.

Health officials are advising residents to either boil their water before using it or used bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes and food preparation.

They say, however, it is OK to use water for bathing but urge people to use hand sanitizer when they are done.

A spokeswoman at Pitt County Memorial Hospital said the hospital had seen about 25 patients complaining of gastrointestinal problems by Thursday afternoon, but that is about average on a typical day.


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  • 1Rx4FN Jun 26, 2008

    Pikeview - I was making reference to the "increased run-off enters the drinking water source or because of a break in the distribution system" in the story. Similar verbage mentioned in the Raleigh articles a few weeks back about the disposal ban.

  • Adelinthe Jun 26, 2008

    "They say, however, it is OK to use water for bathing but urge people to use hand sanitizer when they are done."

    YUCK!!! Even for bathing, I DON'T THINK SO. (Wouldn't that be like taking a "bird bath" in the potty?)

    Praying for these folks and am praising God that we have such a great well.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • ECU_chick Jun 26, 2008

    Oh no, we pirates don't drink water down in Greenville..


  • jevansnc Jun 26, 2008

    Well in regards to the not in the WRAL viewing area comment. I live in Greenville and work in Goldsboro. Greenville isn't technically in the WRAL airwaves viewing area but it is served on SuddenLink cable on channel 5 in Greenville. I was shocked to see the story take this long to surface on WRAL as well. The situation is weird in the fact the usually very active college town at night now looks like a ghost town. There are signs in some areas like the Walgreens on Greenville Blvd. that state "We have WATER".

  • findoutthefacts Jun 26, 2008

    Ummmm....Greenville IS in the WRAL viewing area.....

  • mbalady Jun 26, 2008

    Well what will people do without restaurants for 2 whole days! *Gasp* They may even have to use this device called a stove to make their own food.

  • fourfivesix Jun 26, 2008

    wow, i realize that Greenville is not in the wral viewing area, but this made the news here rather slowly. i'm really surprised it took this long.

  • sillyone. Jun 26, 2008

    true pirates drink mostly cold beer anyway

  • Pineview Style Jun 26, 2008

    Pesky garbage disposals will get you every time - look what they did here."

    Who's sending feces down their disposals? And besides, last time I checked, the water from the disposals goes down the same pipes as the toilet....

  • Harvey Jun 26, 2008

    This taste funny to you?