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All Clear: Water samples show no sign of E. coli, no boil alert necessary

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Turns out, Friday the 13th isn’t so unlucky after all.

The City of Artesia reports its second round of water testing has come back clear, meaning a boil water alert will not be issued for the community.

The testing became necessary after one sample submitted to Cardinal Laboratories in Hobbs this week indicated positive for E. coli. After receiving that result Wednesday afternoon, the city made contact with the New Mexico Environment Department, which requires a confirmation test be conducted before a boil water order goes into effect in order to ensure the initial positive was not false or a result of lab error.

The positive result came as a surprise to the Artesia Water Department, which has been conducting its own tests since the city’s second boil water alert in mid-September. None of the department’s samples had indicated positive for E. coli, but as its tests do not qualify as certified by the state, they did not count. The water at the location the contaminated sample was obtained — 801 W. Bush Ave. — also showed a chlorine level of .9 percent parts per billion, a level that would normally kill any bacteria present.

The Water Department collected a second round of samples Thursday and submitted them not only to Cardinal Labs but to a separate lab in Albuquerque, Hall Environmental, establishing the northern lab as its primary where today’s results were concerned. That lab showed no indication of E. coli present in Artesia’s water system.

The department also tested its own water once again, and its results indicated negative, as well, as did the results from Hobbs.

Following is the press release issued at 5 p.m. today by the City of Artesia:


As stated in the Thursday press release, water samples were sent to two labs for testing
on Thursday. The City is pleased to report that all samples were found to be negative
and clear of E. coli and total coliforms. The results of tests run at the City water
department agree with the lab findings.

Consequently, no “BOIL WATER ALERT” will be issued. The City will continue to work
with the State of New Mexico Environmental Department and the Drinking Water
Bureau to provide Artesia residents with a quality water system. City personnel realize
the inconveniences these events cause and will continue to keep the safety of our
residents a priority in our daily activities.

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