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June 18, 2010

E.Coli discovered in Inn Street fountain water

NEWBURYPORT — The Inn Street fountain has been turned off indefinitely after tests revealed the presence of high counts of coliform bacteria and E.Coli bacteria, the mayor’s office and health department announced Friday.

The city is alerting visitors to the fountain from June 14 to June 17, that if they exhibit any of the above symptoms, they should contact their doctor.

Coliform bacteria and e-coli bacteria in a water source is generally due to unsanitary conditions, excessive runoff, a recent rainfall and or the presence of plant or wildlife fecal matter, according to the mayor’s office.

If water containing the bacteria is consumed, it can cause sickness, particularly in children or people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and headaches.

After sitting idle for years, the fountain began spraying water again several weeks ago after the Downtown Group, a private organization, raised the funds to restore the fountain as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain, improve and restore the many elements of the downtown’s 1970s urban renewal project.

When created in the 1970s, the design was intended to allow kids to splash and play under the spray of cool water. The restoration of the fountain had a $45,000 budget and included the addition of a retaining basin to recirculate the water.

If residents have any concerns or questions, contact Health Director Robert Bracey at 978-456-4410 or 978-289-8986 or visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website at www.Mass.gov.

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