Officials issued the alert after routine testing detected the dangerous bacteria at a residence in the Coronado Village subdivision in central Cary.
"One home tested positive for E. coli in the Coronado subdivision," said Cary Public Works Director Mike Bajorek .
As a precaution, notices were issued for all water customers in the town of Cary, but not for customers in Holly Springs, Apex, Morrisville, Research Triangle Park or Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Also, all restaurants, food stands, school kitchen and lunchrooms, nursing home kitchens, meat markets, and lodging facilities in Cary have been closed by order of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Hotels serving food must also discontinue food service temporarily, and all hotels are required to turn off their ice machines and provide bottled water for guests. Any restaurants or businesses with questions or concerns should call Wake County Environmental Services at 919-868-9254.
Until further notice, residents affected by the notice should bring tap water to a rolling boil for at least three minutes or use bottled water for the following purposes:
- Brushing teeth
- Making ice
- Preparing infant formula and juices
- Washing fruit, vegetables and other food items
- Cleaning dishes
Officials said the finding might be the result of an as-yet-undetected illegal cross-connection or recent system work during which bacterial contamination could have entered the system.
Tests from nearly 40 other sampling points taken this week throughout Cary were normal, said officials.
E. coli infection can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. Infants, young children and people with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to symptoms and should be particularly careful, said officials.
"While the water is safe for showers and bathing, we are advising all residents to avoid eye, nose and mouth contact with the water, including swallowing the water," said Bajorek.
Cary water crews were flushing the water system in Coronado Village on Friday and raising chlorine levels at the water treatment plant. Once this process is completed, additional testing will take place. Officials said the notice would be discontinued once all testing results are normal.
"While we are working around the clock to restore high quality services to the affected area, we expect that the inconvenience of the situation may last through the weekend," said Bajorek.