Clinton Police investigate Clinton water contamination

Monday , June 15, 2015 - 5:20 PM

By BRYON SAXTON
Standard-Examiner staff

CLINTON — The drinking water in Clinton may be safe. But the individual or individuals who contaminated it with E. coli and coliform may not be if there was criminal intent involved.

The city has turned the incident, appeared to have been caused as a result of a culinary and secondary cross connection on a 20-year-old home in the city, over to the police department for further investigation, according to Clinton City Manager Dennis Cluff.

“I believe in justice, absolutely, and we are going to pursue it,” Cluff said.

For five days Clinton city was on a boil notice advisory after lab tests revealed the city’s culinary drinking system had been contaminated with E. coli and coliform.

The boil notice advisory was lifted by the city on Thursday after the Davis County Health department conducted tests which revealed negative contamination after the city super-flushed its lines with chlorine.

But because multiple residents and businesses were negatively impacted as a result of the water contamination, the investigation into the intent behind the suspected cross connection continues.

The City Council is also discussing the possibility, through a city ordinance, of increasing the potential maximum fine when a cross-connection is discovered from a class C to a class B misdemeanor, which would increase the maximum jail time for those parties found responsible from 90 days to six months, and the maximum fine from $750 to $1,000, Cluff said.

“I don’t know what the council is going to do,” Cluff said. “They are going to talk about it.”

City officials want its drinking water system to remain clean and pure, said Cluff, who early-on suspected the water contamination the city experienced likely stemmed from someone wanting to water their lawn or garden through their automatic lawn sprinklers prior to secondary water becoming available to them on April 15. As a result they connected their culinary, or drinking water, to that secondary line, which when pressurized resulted in secondary water going into the city’s drinking water system.

“I don’t know why people want to be so lazy,” said an annoyed Cluff of those residents who refuse to take the time to water their lawn with a single hose hooked up to a outside culinary water tap.

Property owners have rights regarding what they do on their own land, Cluff said, but when a cross connection occurs it can cause multiple ramifications for businesses and residents, and there are those residents who want justice based on the inconvenience or sickness they experience as a result of someone cross-connecting the water lines.

The home suspected in this particular case was a older home, with a new owner, making it difficult for the city to determine whether the new owner or previous owner, or owners, created the cross-connection, he said.

Syracuse city, in an unrelated recent incident, also had for nearly a week a boil notice advisory in place after a cross-connection miscue by a contractor resulted in a drinking water line being cross-connected with a secondary irrigation line. That cross connection occurred at the intersection of 750 S. and 2000 West.

Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or bsaxton@standard.net Follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.

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