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E. Coli Scare Prompts School Closings In Winslow Twp.

WINSLOW Twp. (CBS) -- Classes were cancelled Monday for approximately 6,500 hundred students in the Winslow Township Public School System because of contaminated water in the Camden County community; however, all school employees were expected to report for work as usual.

Winslow Township is warnings its residents not to drink the tap water for the next few days, after authorities found E. Coli in the water supply, a bacteria capable of making someone sick with nausea, headaches, cramps, and more.

Authorities declared the tap water became unsafe to drink.

"They said even to wash the dishes, you had to boil the water," said Pat Gagliardi, a resident of Winslow Township.

Gagliardi is one of about 30,000 people in the area who have to boil water for safety.

"The water looks clear," Gagliardi said. "it doesn't have an odor to it. It doesn't taste different."

She was lucky. Her family already had their fridge stocked with bottled water.

Winslow Township warns everyone to boil water for three minutes before drinking it, using it to brush your teeth, washing dishes with the water, or preparing food with it.

"As soon as you heard, you were out grabbing water because you knew everyone else was too," said shopper Suzanne Miller.

At the local Shop-Rite, shoppers loaded up on bottled water. Authorities said it will be at least a few days before the water is safe, so people were buying as much as they can.

"Last night we were here, we bought about $100 worth of water," said Marc Galvan. "Our dogs drink the water, we brush our teeth with the water, shower with it. Everything!"

Winslow Township authorities found out about the contaminated water on Thursday, but delayed one day in getting the word out, leaving people wondering what took so long for such an important warning.

"We've been drinking the water for a few days now," said Miller. "They found out about it the 28th. But we didn't know about it for a few days."

For a link to Winslow Township's website, click here.

For the Winslow Township Utilities Department, call (609) 567-0700 (Press Option #3).

For the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline, call (800) 426-4791.

Reported By: Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

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