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Published: Thursday, 9/16/2004

2 more wells on Put-in-Bay ordered shut

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - Tests have found possible contamination in two more public wells on South Bass Island, site of an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that sickened more than 1,400 people in July and August.

Heidi Griesmer, a spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said yesterday that tests found E. coli in well water at the Skyway Lounge and total coliform in well water at South Bass Island State Park. That brings the number of public island wells with possible contamination to 17.

E. coli is an indicator of possible fecal contamination in water, while total coliform can indicate the presence of more serious bacteria or pathogens.

Ms. Griesmer said no-use orders would be issued for the wells.

Sam Speck, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said state officials halted use of the park's well yesterday and began providing campers with bottled water.

State health officials have said they are focusing on tainted water as a possible cause of the outbreak but have made no determination.

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