Why did it take five days to warn Victor about E. coli in the water?

August 21, 2019 06:36 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Thousands of families making dinner in Victor have to boil the water before they do anything with it.

E. coli was found in a sample from Victor last week.


The question a lot of homeowners are asking us is: why did it take five days to warm them?

News10NBC asked that question to the man in charge of the water.

The chief of water in Victor, Jon McConnell, says the private testing lab didn’t get him the information until Tuesday. So for five days, some people were drinking water with E. coli.

John Sobraske lives in Fishers: “We heard on the news as we were sipping our coffee that we had to boil the water.”

Because his house is in the dark shaded area, it means Sobraske is in the affected area.

“I’m up here a couple of miles away in Fishers,” said Sobraske pointing to the map of the boil water area.

He got the same Monroe County Water Authority notice thousands of families got to boil water issued last night. But a notice from the Village of Victor says the test that proved positive for E. coli was taken on August 15.

“What I was confused about is why did it take five days from the time they discovered that the water had E. coli in it to telling the public about it?” questioned Sobraske.

So I went to Victor and met with McConnell.

He says he oversaw the water samples last week but he wasn’t told about the positive E. coli result from the private lab doing the testing until Tuesday afternoon.

Brean: “That’s a question a lot of residents have asked us.”

Jon McConnell, Chief Operator of Victor water and sewer: “And I understand that and I’m frustrated also.”

Brean: “Why did it take so long?”

McConnell: “I didn’t know. Until I know I cannot take action.”

McConnell would not tell me the name of the private lab that tested the water. His name is on the notice that says August 15.

Brean: “There are dates written on some of the warnings that went out and it says August 15.”

McConnell: “That is when the test sampled the content, the test that contained the E. coli was sampled. But I didn’t receive results until last night.”

Today the village is flushing the water lines and re-testing the water.

Brean: “When you make your coffee tomorrow morning, are you going to boil it before you do it?”

Sobraske: “Well I don’t know if will boil it but I’m going to boil anything else I drink you know.”

McConnell told me the state health department is investigating the situation. 

In an email, Wednesday afternoon Health Department spokeswoman Erin Silk wrote, "The Department is aware of a boil water advisory for the Village of Victor and is in contact with the water supplier regarding repeat sampling and public notification actions that have occurred."

They have to have two consecutive days of clean water tests.

One happened today. If the sample is clean, another test will happen on Thursday. If that sample is clean, residents will be able to drink the water without boiling by Friday at noon at the earliest.


Berkeley Brean

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