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ECU responds to contaminated water announcement

GREENVILLE, NC   (June 25, 2008)   —   In response to Greenville Utilities Commission’s notice today that the city’s water supply has been contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria and must be boiled before use, East Carolina University is taking steps to inform the campus community and to protect students in the campus dining halls.

On campus, departmental safety representatives and housekeeping staff members have posted “Don’t drink” signs on water fountains. Campus Living staff members are posting notices in all residence halls. The athletics staff members are providing water and ice to athletes from a source outside GUC’s service area.

ECU Campus Dining has taken the following measures and will remain open:

* Only food items that can be prepared without the use of water or rinsing (those food items that go directly from the freezer/ refrigerator to the grill/ fryer/ oven), pre-packaged food items, milk and bottled beverages are being served.
* Only paper and plastic service ware, utensils, and drink ware are in use.
* In lieu of hand washing with contaminated water, approved hand sanitizers are being used.
* All employees are aware of the contamination and have received specific instructions not to use any water sources.
* Signs have been posted at all possible water sources alerting customers and employees of the water supply contamination.
* All food and beverages prepared prior to the water contamination alert has been discarded.
* Communication with the Pitt County Health Department is ongoing.

Fecal coliform bacteria can make people sick and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. Until further notice, all GUC customers should boil water for at least one minute before drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and preparing food, according to a GUC press release. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

GUC is currently sampling the water system to determine the extent of the contamination and will be performing flushing to clean the lines. Additional information is available on the GUC website at http://www.guc.com/boilwater.aspx

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Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481