Kenneth Gregory, Portland, Tennessee, recently moved from his residence at 1830 Poplar Grove Road in the Rocky Mound Community.
Gregory, for many months, had been suffering from unexplained illnesses that range from severe stomach cramps to kidney infections. Gregory's weight dropped 20-30 pounds.
The unexplained illnesses were finally explained when Gregory decided to sell his home.
Gregory used well water for all his water needs. A city water line is not available to most homes on Poplar Grove Road but the city expects one to be in place within the next year.
When property is sold the mortgage company will request you to test the water.
The results of the test were shocking to Gregory.
Gregory's water had a form of e-coli.
According to Sherry Jent, Macon County Health Department, e-coli is a bacteria that is normally found in the intestines of animals and humans. It can be contracted from undercooked hamburger meat, unpasteurized juices, or surface water. It can cause dysentery, kidney infections, polyps on the colon, stomach cramping, and even forms of skin disease(open sores, rash like areas on the body).
Gregory did not know where the well water was coming from. It could have come from a nearby creek that is a watering hole to cattle and other animals.
Surface water is water that is sitting on the surface of the ground. Jent stated that if someone's septic tank had overflowed or animal fecal got into the well "this could most definitely cause e-coli." Surface water is dingy in color. It is not purified water.
Surface water is the most likely place Gregory contracted e-coli.
According to Junior Hall, Environmental Specialist with the Macon County Health Department, e-coli can be found in most wells and springs in Macon County.
Hall said that upon request from an individual a test of the water can be done. The cost to test the water is approximately $50.
The test will check for any form of viruses that might be in the water. The test will not check for fecal matter.
Hall believes Kenneth Gregory may have been affected because he moved to Macon County from another state.
Hall said, "The people that have used spring water or well water their whole life have built up immunity to the bacteria in the water. Gregory moved to Macon County several years ago and had no immunities to stop the bacteria from causing problems to his body."
A purifier will not clean these virus out of your water. Hall said that a purifier will only keep trash and debris out of your water.
A chlorinator is what is needed to keep out harmful bacteria.
Bill Jones, Macon Hardware, stated that a chlorinator, put at the pump in a well or spring, releases chlorine into your water every time the pump is used.
Jones stated that a chlorinator is approximately $190.
Gregory went on to sale the home and now the new home owners have a chlorinator.
Gregory had this to say, "If there had been more public awareness I would not have used the water. I would have used bottled water. If I had known it would be life threatening and that I would suffer the consequences for years I would have put a chlorinator on sooner.
A call was made by the Times requesting more information from the State Health Department. A stiff no comment was the answer.
Could your spring or well water have e-coli? Maybe it is time to find out.