State environmental officials are advising residents of two sections of Hazle Township not to consume their drinking water after giardia cysts were found in a test.
The state Department of Environmental Protection said residents of Stockton No. 6 and Stockton No. 8 in Hazle Township should not use water from the Stockton Water System for consumptive purposes because of serious health concerns.
The recommendation discourages residents from using the water to, among other things, drink, cook, bathe, wash and brush teeth. DEP staff today hand-delivered notices to about 40 homes in those communities to make them aware of the current situation, DEP said in a news release.
The Stockton Water System is an unpermitted public water supply system that is providing unfiltered and untreated surface water to its customers, which does not meet the commonwealth’s drinking water standards, DEP said.
Surface water can commonly contain microbiological contaminants such as E. coli bacteria, giardia, cryptosporidium cysts, viruses and other organisms that can be harmful to human health. In addition, surface water can also contain various chemical contaminants, which, in high enough concentrations, can also be harmful to human health, DEP said.
Water samples taken in July by DEP’s Safe Drinking Water Program revealed giardia cysts present in the water. Giardia lamblia is the organism responsible for giardiasis – a flu-like disease involving persistent diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, weight loss and sometimes dehydration. Additional samples taken in April revealed the water contained plant debris and live insect larva.
The department is advising residents to find an alternate source of water from a DEP approved source, such as bottled water, or water obtained from a DEP regulated and permitted public water system, which Stockton’s water system is not.
“The Department DOES NOT recommend boiling this water, as the boiling process may actually concentrate certain contaminants, such as nitrates and metals, which may also be found at varying concentrations in this water,” DEP said.
DEP’s Safe Drinking Water staff sampled water from the system in order to determine the current water quality and is now informing the residents of the consequences of continued use of water from this system, the agency said.