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Silicon Valley Water Scare: E. Coli Found in Los Altos Water Supply

Hundreds of Cal Water customers in a portion of Los Altos were at risk of being sickened by traces of the E. coli bacteria and total coliform in their water this weekend.

On Sunday, Cal Water officials issued a “boil water” alert through  hundreds of official notifications by telephone in the afternoon. They started started door-to-door notification efforts on Monday, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Cal Water reportedly services 18,800 customers in Los Altos, and 853 customers have been affected.

People with weakened immune systems, infants, young children and the elderly are particularly at risk for falling ill.

Cal Water customers are being told they must boil water for at least one minute before they drink, brush their teeth, make ice, wash dishes or prepare meals, and have been advised to discard any ice that was made with tap water or using the water from their refrigerators, the Mercury News notes.  The water is reportedly still safe for showering and bathing.

Cal Water officials suggested checking with veterinarians about whether to give water from their homes to their pets, although bottled water is preferable. Customers who use bottled water will reportedly be reimbursed by Cal Water if they provide receipts.

A second set of test results should be returned on Wednesday and determine whether the bacteria have been eradicated from the water supply.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

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