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Kent County health officials tell Rockford residents to boil water, sponge bathe kids

Water running from tap
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Update 9/5/13: Rockford Public Schools have closed six schools today because of the water advisory. Superintendent Mike Shibler wrote in a letter to parents he made that decision based on the recommendation of the Kent County Health Department. Schools could be closed tomorrow too if the problem with the water system isn't resolved.

Kent County health officials are advising people who live or work in the Grand Rapids suburb of Rockford to boil their water until further notice. Testing completed Wednesday shows the bacteria E-coli in the public water system.

Some equipment at Rockford’s water treatment plant malfunctioned over the holiday weekend. That allowed E coli bacteria to grow to unsafe levels for human consumption.

Health officials say people in Rockford should boil tap water before drinking it, using it to wash hands, brush teeth or do the dishes. They also suggest using bottled water. Parents are advised to give their kids sponge baths to avoid infection.

There haven’t been any illnesses reported yet, but Kent County health officials say symptoms of E-coli infections can take up to a week to appear. Typically sick adults recover within a week but young kids and the elderly are at higher risk of complications.

Residents are urged to check this website for updates.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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