Last week, the City of Saratoga Springs, Utah, issued a boil water order for the northern half of the city after Campylobacter bacteria were discovered in the city’s drinking water system. At least 15 people have become ill with confirmed Campylobacteriosis, and the Utah County Health Department has received additional reports of illness consistent with Campylobacter infection.
Attorneys representing a Saratoga Springs resident who became ill with Campylobacteriosis during the outbreak mailed a Notice of Claim to the City Manager of Saratoga Springs on Tuesday, notifying the City and its public works department that their client intends to take legal action for injuries suffered as a result of a Campylobacter infection.
According to R. Drew Falkenstein of the Seattle law firm Marler Clark, who is representing the Saratoga Springs resident with Utah attorneys Dustin Lance and Jared Faerber, the claimant fell ill on May 5 with gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. She visited her doctor, but was later forced to seek emergency hospital care. The claimant suffered a reaction to the antibiotics she was given to treat her Campylobacter infection, and continues to receive medical care.
On May 13, the City of Saratoga Springs issued a boil order for residents on the north side of the city, advising residents, schools, commercial businesses, and all other users of the drinking water system north of 400 South in Saratoga Springs to boil their water for at least one minute or use bottled water while measures were taken to flush the water system of any pathogens from the system.
The City flushed the drinking water system and added chlorine to kill any remaining bacteria last Friday, conducted testing for coliform bacteria–a commonly used bacterial indicator for bacterial pathogens, and lifted the boil order Saturday after test results came back negative for bacteria.
“We should be able to trust the water in our faucets,” said Falkenstein. “We hope that Saratoga Springs will honor the valid claims of the many sick Saratoga Springs residents who entrusted the handling of their water supply to the City.”
Marler Clark also represents 40 residents of Alamosa, Colorado, who became ill with Salmonella infections after drinking contaminated water from the Alamosa municipal water system in 2008.
The City of Saratoga Springs municipal water system is supplied by five deep wells that are considered protected, and the city does not routinely chlorinate its water. Dr. Joseph Miner, Executive Director of the Utah County Health Department, told KSL TV that the outbreak coincides with the city turning on the pressurized irrigation system, but the source of contamination has not yet been determined.