BURLINGTON (CBS) – Town officials in Burlington are scrambling to find the source after an E. Coli outbreak in the water supply. At Jimmy’s Family Restaurant, they’re boiling up water and continually switching out the carafes at the coffee maker as they try to keep business going.
“Even if I serve five people, I’m here to serve them. I don’t want to disappoint anyone,” said owner Rita Habipi.READ MORE: Head Of The Charles Regatta Returns Friday For First Time In Two Years
But there were fewer customers, and she sent her son early to get supplies for the weekend. “I told him to buy more water and ice and be prepared to boil water and make ice for tomorrow,” said Habipi.
It’s the same ordeal for chef Bob Athas who owns the catering company Culinary Creations. He’s trying to prepare a catering order for 95 people. Large pots of water must be boiled then cooled to wash vegetables.
In the meantime, he has a small supply of bottled water to try to get the job done. “It’s more of a hassle to bring in the bottled water than go right to the faucet. And it was pretty late notice last night,” said Athas.
That’s when the boil water order went out after the bacteria was discovered in three samples of town water during weekly testing.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Will You See Another Relief Payment?
Supermarket shelves are emptying of bottled water, and in the parking lot at a local Shaw’s, customers were stocking up by the five gallon and gallon.
“Right now, people are in a panic and freaking out,” said resident Ignatius Johnson. “It’s scary when they tell you E. coli is in your water.”
How long the boil water order will last is unclear, but Burlington DPW Director John Sanchez says it could be through the weekend since it takes 24 hours for test results. “We’ll continue testing, we’ll test again tomorrow get another round of results on Sunday and hope they’re negative,” Sanchez said.
But Burlington resident Janice Smith keeps rotating two boiling pots on the stove just in case. “Hopefully it is two to three days, but if not, we’ll be prepared,” she said.MORE NEWS: National Weather Service Forecasts Milder Than Average Winter For New England
Officials say water used for drinking or cooking should be boiled for at least one minute before use.