PARIS – Paris residents can now put their cups to the tap and let them spilleth over with E. coli-free water.

The state lifted the boil-water order Wednesday around noon, Paris Utility District Manager Steve Arnold said Wednesday.

The Maine Drinking Water Program first placed a boil-water order on the town last Wednesday after a water analysis showed that E. coli bacteria, indicating fecal contamination, was in the municipal water supply. For seven days, residents had to boil their tap water before drinking it.

Arnold said the district took five water tests Monday night that came back negative for bacteria Tuesday. Again on Tuesday, the district took eight more samples, which all tested free of any trace of microbes.

Chlorination of the previously pristine town water will continue until the source of contamination has been identified and remedied. This means pumping between 10 and 11 gallons of chlorine in the water for the next week or so, then lowering the concentration after that, Arnold said.

The state will determine when the district can stop chlorinating.

The next step for the utility district is to repair and fix any problems in the system. This entails cleaning both wells and hiring a company to inspect the reservoir and water tanks.

Arnold said at this point he’s not sure of the costs the district will incur, or whether it will have to borrow money.

All rate increases for water customers are decided by Maine Public Utilities Commission, he said. “It’s way too early to tell” what will happen on that front, he said.

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