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Baumholder water boil advisory still in force

The U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder's Smith Barracks sits on the hill above Baumholder, Germany, seen here on Monday, April 4, 2016.

By MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 29, 2016

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Troops living in the Baumholder area are being advised to boil their tap water after tests on the city water systems found traces of E. coli contamination, but so far the water supply on post appears to be unaffected, military and German officials said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, emergency services in Baumholder advised the military community that municipal water in Baumholder, Birkenfeld and nearby Herrstein had tested for increased levels of the potentially deadly bacteria.

However, the Army garrison’s water supply operates independently of the city system and has shown no sign of contamination, the military said.

“Currently, there is no indication that the installation water system is contaminated. On a daily basis, the Department of Public Works (DPW) collects water samples for bacteriological monitoring and this analysis includes testing for E.coli,” the Army said in a posting on Baumholder garrison’s Facebook page.

Additional testing on the Army post is underway to ensure there is no contamination.

Military members living off post should take precautions, city officials said. To help, the Baumholder garrison provided free bottled water Tuesday to members who live off post.

People living in the affected areas are advised to boil all water for five minutes. That applies to water used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation, the military said.

Birkenfeld county medical adviser Diana Thiel said that after an initial positive test of E.coli, a subsequent water test has come back negative.

Additional testing is being done on city water supplies. The earliest public water could be cleared for consumption is Thursday or Friday.

Thiel said it was possible that the contamination happened as a result of recent heavy rains, which might have causing water to run through farm fields fertilized with manure.

The last time the Baumholder area tested positive for elevated levels of E.coli was 2001, she said in a telephone interview.

Thiel confirmed that Americans who live on base were not affected since the base receives its water from a separate source.

Stars and Stripes reporter John Vandiver contributed to this report.

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com

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