Botkin says total coliform or E coli bacteria was detected in water samples collected from the water system serving the Town of Smithfield in Johnston County.
Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, following heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.
Town of Smithfield advises consumers to boil all water used for human consumption --including drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, making ice and washing hands-- or use bottled water.
Botkin says vigorous boiling for one minute should kill any disease-causing organisms that may be present in the water.
The advisory remains in effect until further notice.
For more information about the advisory and bacteria click here.
Officials say the advisory is not connected to Monday's request to slow down usage in Johnston County. That order is not mandatory, just voluntary.