A Columbus City Utilities well that was taken out of service after it tested positive for E. coli contamination remains offline as cleaning and inspections continue.

Utilities director Keith Reeves said the city is doing purge testing on the well at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds. It is working with well cleaners and consultants to determine why the untreated water from the well tested positive for the fecal bacteria June 15.

The well, which has not been in service since the positive test, will remain offline until the contamination cause is found, Reeves said. An official report will be made to state officials about the well and the test results, he said.

Water testing conducted since a boil order was issued the afternoon of June 16 and lifted about a day later has shown the city’s water supply was never contaminated and there was never a risk to public health of safety, Reeves said in an earlier interview.

IDEM allowed the boil order to be lifted at 3 p.m. June 17 since the well was offline and any contaminated water had already gone through the water treatment system, Reeves said.

The tests on the fairgrounds well were conducted on water coming directly out of the ground — not water that had been through the purification process at the city water plant, said Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development for the city, in an earlier interview.

IDEM also told Reeves and city utility workers that the city’s water plant disinfection system was sufficient to kill any of the E. coli that might have come from the well into the water plant before the well was taken out of service, Reeves said.

The city tests the water supply in the distribution system with 40 samples a month, including additional testing this week, Reeves said.

All tests since the boil order have shown city water to be safe and free of contaminants, he said.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management cleared the Columbus City Utilities on drinking water quality and following proper protocols, according to Barry Sneed, IDEM public information officer.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.