person opening faucet

MOHAVE COUNTY – It’s handful of customers remain under a precautionary boil advisory before drinking water supplied by the Mohave County owned and operated I-40 Industrial Corridor water system. The advisory was issued following discovery of E. coli bacteria in the water supply on Thursday, Aug. 24.

“These bacteria can make you sick, and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems,” a county news release stated. “Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice.”

Public Works Director Steve Latoski said county staff spent the weekend flushing the system and collecting water samples for testing. He said the exercise did not produce any negative results but he explained extenuating circumstances extend the no boil advisory for several days.

“The advisory will remain in place through most of this week,” Latoski said Tuesday morning. He said the water system serves six customers including the GEO group operated private prison that currently holds nearly 3,400 inmates.

Prison staff provided bottled water and sack meals to inmates as the testing protocols were initiated.

“At no time was the health and safety of inmates at the Kingman complex in jeopardy due to the Mohave County water issue,” the Arizona Department of Corrections said in a release responding to media inquiry.​The County provides only about 5% of the complex’s water source. When the Kingman complex was notified by Mohave County of the water issue, the County’s water flow was immediately shut off to the complex.”

Latoski explained the complexity of system service to the prison keeps the water boil caution in place.

“The extended advisory period is due to certain meticulous coordination with the prison that involves work to isolate the prison’s stored water while staff flushes the system through pressure from adjacent Well #7,” Latoski said. He noted that section of the system is a dead-end line, necessitating extra steps.

“We have a vendor under contract to assist us on the flushing of the remaining section and they are scheduled to be out later this week,” Latoski said.

The contamination of the I-40 system comes on the heels of highly publicized well failure and financial challenges in the Mohave County administered Golden Valley Improvement District water system. The county did not indicate a cause for the E. coli presence in the I-40 system, but said such contamination sometimes results when increased run off enters a drinking system, when there’s a break in the distribution system or when failure occurs in the water treatment process.

The City of Kingman issued its own news release, attempting to separate its municipal water supply from the county system some 13 miles south of Kingman.

“The City would like to emphasize the fact that the City of Kingman Water distribution system is not affected by any type of E-coli contamination,” a city news release said. 

“That system is not associated with the City of Kingman’s water system, said Assistant Kingman Public Works Director Keelan Yarborough.