Restaurants reopen after water advisory

SMITHFIELD The 36 hour water crisis basically shut down all of Smithfield's restaurants this week.

The warning to use Smithfield water only if boiled went out Wednesday morning.

"I envisioned there was an E. coli bacteria in the water and you better watch out," Smithfield merchant Chris Kincade said. "We could all get sick or die."

As the boil water order reached day two, people wondered where the problem was stemming from, at the treatment plant or in the water tower.

However, a fecal presence was found in two water samples taken from an outdoor faucet, nowhere near any restaurant in Smithfield.

"This was a location that we've taken many, many, many times," Smithfield Utilities Director Earl Botkin said.

The so-called fecal presence originated on the faucet, not in the water. Tests at nine other sites were clean.

Officials say the outdoor faucet probably become contaminated by an animal looking for a place to drink.

"They have pets, so that is the most logical thing that it came from," Botkin said.

Officials say cities often use outdoor faucets for monthly tests because they are easy to get to, but the process usually does not turn out like it did this week.

The Town of Smithfield says the long-term fix is testing water indoors instead of outside.

Even though local restaurants lost thousands of dollars, the town could have been out of water for weeks if the contamination had been at the water plant.

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