White Oak Water Safe After Contamination Scare

Tonight, water in the city of White Oak is a little bit safer after the city has lifted a boil water notice.

City officials say a sample of the water came back Thursday testing positive for coliform bacteria. Just a few hours ago, another water sample came back negative.

KLTV 7's LaKecia Shockley shows us how something like this happens, and how other east Texas cities can prevent it.

'Boil your water due to bacteria contamination.'

Those are words no one wants to hear, and when he found out, White Oak plant manager Tom Fulton was on the clock.

"We had to notify the public, so we were under that 24 hour clock and we started yesterday around 3:00 pm."

White Oak resident Kenneth Jones wishes the city could have warned residents about the contamination ahead of time.

"We could have been boiling our water or quit using the water as early as Monday, and we wasn't notified at all until late last night and a lot of people just heard about it this morning," he told us today.

The city says they sent the water test off on Monday, but the positive e-coli test results came back yesterday, and that's when they notified residents.

Now, like it or not, water purification systems expert Mike Brown says bacteria leaks in water systems are going to happen.

"You have water pipes in the ground, you have sewer pipes in the ground sometimes those two are laid close together. One of them starts to leak and you can get it over into a water pipe. There's really not a preventable way. I mean these things happen. I mean this happened," Brown said.

And for Circle W Cafe, the bacteria water notice on busy fish Friday happened to make their day more hectic.

"It has been terrible. It really has. We can't use the drinking fountain, we can't use the water out of the faucet and that's really hard when you're serving coffee every two seconds," said waitress Amanda Jones.

"We're having to buy drinks, we have to buy water, we're having to buy the ice."

Thankfully, those are steps they no longer have to take.

The city also tells us, they are planning a $3 million upgrade to their water and waste systems within the next year.

LaKecia Shockley, reporting. lshockley@kltv.com