The New Mexico Environment Department’s Drinking Water Bureau is confirming that a “boil water advisory” is required for the Monterey Water Company in Valencia County.

Monterey Water Company was required to issue the advisory on Oct. 2 after bacteriological contamination (E. coli) was detected in routine drinking water samples from the water system’s distribution system. New Mexico Drinking Water Regulations require Monterey Water Company to notify their water system consumers of this finding as soon as practical but no later than 24 hours after the system is notified of the confirmation of the violation.

Monterey Water Company is a community public water system that serves about 1,208 users.  This advisory applies only to the drinking water from the Monterey Water Company and does not extend to any other surrounding water systems.

Monterey Water Company users are advised to boil the water for three minutes before:

  • Drinking
  • Making coffee, tea and other drinks
  • Making ice
  • Cooking
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Using the water to feed a baby
  • Brushing teeth
  • Providing as drinking water for pets

The presence of E. coli in water indicates that the water may have been in contact with sewage or animal wastes and could contain disease-causing organisms.

Most strains of E. coli are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. However, a positive test for E. coli in the drinking water supply may indicate the presence of dangerous strains of E. coli or other disease-causing organisms.  These types of organisms may cause severe gastrointestinal illness and, in rare cases, death. Children, the elderly and immuno-compromised individuals are at an increased risk for illness.

The NMED Drinking Water Bureau will provide compliance oversight and offer technical assistance to the water system and will require the Monterey Water Company to continue to test the water until no further threat of contamination remains.

For more facts about New Mexico’s Boil Water Advisories in English and Spanish, visit  env.nm.gov/drinking_water/boil-water-advisories/ and for more information the announcement, call NMED’s Drinking Water Bureau compliance officer Wayne Jeffs at 505-469-7457.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.