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Jersey City Issues Boil Water Advisory After Drinking Water Samples Test Positive For E. Coli

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Residents of Jersey City should boil water before consuming it through Saturday at 5 p.m., officials said.

The entire city is under a boil advisory after Suez Water says samples of drinking water came back positive for E. coli.

A sample was taken near Christ Hospital on Tuesday and results came back positive.

Additional samples were taken Wednesday that confirmed the presence of E. coli. That result came back Thursday night. It was then they notified officials.

It was late Friday morning before the city sent out an alert to residents.

"You know, it makes me definitely feel like the city's trying to hide stuff," Jersey City resident Marc Devens told CBS2's Nick Caloway.

Devens, his wife and their dog had all been drinking the tap water until Friday morning.

"Uh yeah, quite a bit of it, before I found out I wasn't supposed to be," Devens said.

He's upset by how long it took the city to tell residents to boil their water.

In fact, we were the ones who told him the drinking water came back positive for E. coli.

The city had simply called it "an irregularity."

"You don't really know who to trust, or if you can trust the people that are supposed to be informing you about these issues," Devens said.

A couple miles away in the Journal Square neighborhood, Adam Cohen found out about the possible contamination via a text alert from the city.

"It just speaks to a general lack of communication by the city," Cohen said.

Cohen worries that most residents don't get the text alerts and still don't know to boil their water.

"The only reason our next door neighbor found out was because my husband texted her and said, 'We just want to make sure that you know not to drink the water right now.' And she had no idea," Cohen said.

The city said the drinking water later tested OK, but tests continue.

Jersey City Councilman James Soloman says the lack of communication is unacceptable.

"And I think the City Council needs to investigate. We need to bring the water executives before us and understand the lapses in communication, and their plan to make sure it doesn't happen again," Soloman said.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop was unavailable Friday evening for an interview about the possible contamination. Fulop said on Twitter the city expects results of more water sample tests by 5 p.m. Saturday.

Residents should boil tap water before drinking it or using it to cook, wash dishes or brush teeth.

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