DEP issues recall for locally bottled water with E. Coli bacteria



PITTSBURGH - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a recall this weekend for large bottles of water produced by a local company.

Tests by the Allegheny County Health Department found total coliform and E. coli bacteria in three-, four- and five-gallon bottles of Tyler Mountain Water, which is bottled and delivered by Plum-based Aqua Filter Fresh, said DEP spokesman John Poister.

"Actually showed levels of E. Coli and total coliform, which are things you do NOT want to have in water," Poister said. "It was over 9,000 bottles of three, four and five gallon jugs of water.”

The water, which is usually delivered and used in free-standing water coolers, was bottled between April 17 and 18, when the company's ultraviolet disinfecting system was malfunctioning, Poister said.

About half of the 9,400 affected water bottles were still in the company's stockpiles when officials discovered the contamination, but the rest had been delivered to customers, said David Mashek, spokesman for the company.

“It's either sitting in a closet somewhere, waiting to be put on a machine, or already on a machine,” Poister said.

As of Monday, officials with the Department of Environmental Protection said about 60 percent of those bottles had been returned.

Customers who received Tyler Mountain water deliveries recently should contact Tyler Mountain/Aqua Filter Fresh at 800-864 8957 to determine if they are affected and arrange a recall.

In a statement, the company said, “Protection of the public health is our top concern. We are continuing to remain in contact with those affected customers to pick up and replace those questionable deliveries promptly.”

“We’re in contact with them virtually every day, several times a day, to try to update this,” Poister said.

It was unknown how the E. coli bacteria, which can indicate contamination by human or animal waste, got into Aqua Filter Fresh's water supply, Poister said. Aqua Filter Fresh declined to discuss where it gets its water, Mashek said.

E. coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms, and can be a higher health risk for infants, young children, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.