Update: As of Sept. 29, the boil-water advisory has lifted for Mercer Island. All restaurants should remain closed until receiving a visit from a public health inspector. The city of Mercer Island in Washington state is advising residents to boil their water before drinking, or to use bottled water after samples showed the presences of E. coli. The Washington State Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle and King County also ordered all food establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, and delis operating on Mercer Island to suspend operations until the boil water advisory is lifted. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. Boiled or purchased bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice. Bring the water to a boil, let it boil for at least 1 minute, and let it cool before using. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms that could potentially be in the water. Dishwashers can be used if run with the sanitizing/heat cycle and commercial dishwashing detergent. Dishes can be hand-washed if rinsed in a diluted bleach solution — one teaspoon household bleach to one gallon of water — and then allowed to air dry. Water can be used for bathing, but do not drink any of the water and do not allow babies to put the water or wet washcloth in the mouth. The city will issue further notice when the water supply is confirmed to be safe. Aside from Mercer Island, all other Seattle Public Utilities water is safe for drinking.