Neighborhood Tainted By E Coli And Other Nasty Bacteria

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Russell Wood loves his home of 40 years on Rice Avenue, just outside of Rockford. It's his contaminated water taps that terrify him.

"It's frustrating. Even your dog can't drink it, so you can't do your dishes. It's a pain," Wood said.

Wood isn't alone. In this neighborhood, dozens of residents are dealing with E coli and other bacteria which showed up in their drinking water. Tuesday, maintenance teams dug deep underground to try and find the bacteria's source.

"Unfortunately, we can't put a time frame to it, because it's a detective job, and we're trying to get the pieces to click into place and it is a time consuming chore," Winnebago County Health Department's Larry Swacina said.

Equally maddening to investigators is where E coli is showing up, and where it is not. Just down the street on Rice Avenue, other residents homes came up clean, and they're drinking water from same underground source.

"I drink a gallon and a half sometimes a day, and sometimes a 1/2 gallon. Never been sick, not from the water at least," Vanda Nielsen said.

In the meantime, the Rock River Water Reclamation district is providing bottled water, and lining sewage pipes for extra protection. Wood admits the crews are working hard, but his patience is wearing thin.

"I think so. I think they are trying to as long as they stay honest about it, we'll be all right," Wood said.

If your home's water needs to be tested, call the Winnebago Health Department for a free test. That number is (815) 720-4141.


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