E. Coli in water closes Mercer Island restaurants again: ‘It’s a hit … a really bad hit’

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MERCER ISLAND — Mercer Island issued its second boil-water advisory Thursday, ordering all restaurants to close as the city’s drinking water was found to be contaminated with E. Coli, health officials said.

“Having to throw everything out, going through the this again, it’s just more added work, and lost money,” said Jesse Robillard, who runs Roberto’s Pizza and Pasta.

“It’s embarrassing to have to tell the customers they have to leave now because we’re under a water alert.”

Test results indicate E. Coli and Total Coliform — both potentially harmful to humans — were found in the city’s water Thursday. As a result, Mercer Island issued its second boil-water advisory in less than a week and requests all city residents to boil their water before drinking or use bottled water.

The city still doesn’t know what is causing E. Coli to get into the water.

“To date there hasn’t been anything that leads us back to the source of contamination,” said bob James with the State Dept. of Health.

The city’s 62 restaurants were ordered closed by Public Health — Seattle & King County, officials said. Restaurants, coffee shops and delis are all affected.

Mercer Island School officials said schools would remain open, saying appropriate precautions such as changed lunch menus and portable washing stations are in place.

“We are planning a normal school day for the remainder of today and tomorrow’s schedule is planned as normal,” Mercer Island Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Plano said.

There are no reports of illness at this time, the  City of Mercer Island said.

The new plan is to triple the number of water samples taken to try and find the source of contamination., and increase the amount of chlorine in the system to disinfect it.




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