WINK News team coverage: Aftermath of the boil water notice in Cape Coral

Published: September 13, 2022 6:14 PM EDT
Updated: September 13, 2022 8:24 PM EDT

Southwest Florida’s largest city can drink its water once again, although some businesses are still shut down. But, that’s because this will let them flush out all the systems before they use them again.

Residents are looking for someone to blame for the boil water notice Cape Coral sent out on Monday.

E. coli is naturally-occurring, and while it rarely causes life-threatening reactions, it can make people very sick. It is a bacteria found in human and animal stool and it’s most commonly heard of when it contaminates food or water.

E. coli is a bacteria that helps digest food and we all have and need it. The bacteria can get into the small intestine and cause diarrhea and other gastro issues including stomach pains, cramps, and low-grade fever.

Most healthy people recover within a week without using medicine, while more severe cases can cause bloody diarrhea and vomiting and may need urgent care.

The greater risk is for young children and older adults and anyone with a weakened immune system. While it is rare, it can develop into a life-threatening form of kidney failure.

Statistically, it is considered rare, only about 250,000 cases are reported each year. Although, the actual number is probably higher though because most people don’t go to the doctor.

Back in Cape Coral, business owners lost money due to circumstances that were simply out of their control and an abundance of caution.

While Cape Coral leaders said there’s no need for further precautions, residents are not going to simply forget what happened.

Michelle, a Cape Coral resident, simply wanted a pumpkin spice latte. But, the boil water notice made it substantially more difficult than it ought to have been.

“This is a pain in the a** cause now I can’t get coffee,” Michelle said.

Frank, another Cape Coral resident, only wanted a croissant to get his day started on the right foot. He told WINK News when it comes to the water, save the waterworks.

“For something like this to happen, for the entire city to be shut down on water is kinda ridiculous,” Frank said.

Other areas and businesses in Cape Coral coped in ways they had to. Starbucks was closed, Dunkin’ Donuts was open, but couldn’t serve ice water, doctor’s offices had to notify people not to drink water, and Wawa closed its deli and beverage sections.

“They gotta do something,” Frank said. “I think it relies more on our water management treatment plans, you know?”

It’s important to note, that even though Cape Coral residents don’t have to boil the water, there are still steps to take to be safe.

Residents need to flush the plumbing in their homes by running all cold water faucets. Flush all appliances connected to the water line. Also, disposable filters should be removed and replaced. And, ice from ice makers should be dumped and replaced three times.

After the latest tests came back negative for E. coli and total chloroform Cape Coral ended the boil water notice for the city.

“Went to the store last night. Grabbed as much water as the limits allowed us to,” Cape Coral resident Alexandria Drennen said.

“Shutting my ice cube maker off. And not using the fridge water,” Cape Coral resident Nancy Marshall said.

“Showering I would put a cloth in my mouth that I don’t get a drop of water in it,” Cape Coral resident Christel Shultz said. Shultz also mentioned she was worried about Jackie, her dog.

“We googled if a dog would be affected by E. coli and yes they do so we have to give the dog bottled water,” Shultz said.

Despite both positive results near Rotary Park, city leaders said they never feared an E. coli outbreak.

“The concern that we had was that the actual sample site may have had an issue. It may have had some contamination there,” Melissa Mickey, the communications manager for the City of Cape Coral said.

Now that the boil water advisory is lifted, the city assured residents that there’s nothing specific people need to do now. People in Cape Coral can go back to their normal routines, but to be safe, change those filters.