The single water line in south Pine that tested positive for total coliforms several weeks ago is now free of the bacteria, according to Tim Rowe, environmental health engineer for the Payson office of the Gila County Health Department.
"I don't think that they found a specific cause (for the contamination)," Rowe said. "Typically, such problems are caused by line breaks."
All food-service establishments on the Brooke Utilities water line are open and operating, including one that had been voluntarily closed by the owner in order to comply with Arizona Department of Agriculture water regulations.
The health department's recommendation that water from the line be boiled prior to consumption had not been an "all-out boil-water" order, Rowe explained. "That was not our intention at all; it was simply to notify the food establishments."
The detection of total coliforms in water is quite common, Rowe said, partly because "there is an incredibly wide family of coliform bacteria. They are commonly found in soil, rotting leaves, everywhere. That's why, when we receive a total coliform positive sample, it's not as serious as when we receive a fecal coliform sample which is the form which occurs in the intestinal track of animals."