All water was turned off at 8 p.m. on Sunday at the state’s new Glenrio Welcome Center when E. coli was found in the water, a Department of Transportation spokeswoman said.
At 5:30 p.m. Monday limited water service, only to the center’s toilets, was returned, said Christina Romero, DOT District Four public information officer.
“None of the staff have gotten sick and no visitors have reported to the DOT or the Department of Tourism that they’ve gotten sick,” Romero said.
On Tuesday, The restrooms were back in operation and the water had been chlorinated, Romero said.
But no potable water was available to visitors and bathroom sinks were shut off, so liquid hand sanitizers were given to patrons, Romero said.
The state’s Department of Environment has been contacted and tests have been conducted on the water. The water was being tested again on Tuesday and the results are expected to be available today, Romero said.
Romero said she did not know what had caused the contamination. The center’s two wells did lose power, she said.
The state’s DOT built the new welcome center. The state’s Department of Tourism operates the welcome center’s information services and its staff provides tourists and travelers with asistance and information about the state.
A week ago, officials from the two departments held a grand opening ceremony at the center.
News of E. coli at the Glenrio center has lead some to think the siutation has spread, said Tucumcari city manager John Sutherland.
“The city’s water is fine – the problem is isolated to the Glenrio Visitor’s Center – the city’s water supply is safe,” Sutherland said.
What is Escherichia coli?
Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria, according to the Center for Disease Control Web site. The site states:
“Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses. Still other kinds of E. coli are used as markers for water contamination — so you might hear about E. coli being found in drinking water, which are not themselves harmful, but indicate the water is contaminated.”