Gonzales water well closes due to elevated level of bacteria

GONZALES, Calif. - Elevated levels of coliform bacteria has caused the city of Gonzales to take a well offline for repairs.

Coliform can be found in water environments, in soil and on vegetation. The bacteria is usually present in large numbers in the feces of animals.

City officials said the coliform bacteria found in the well at 725 Fanoe Road is not considered harmful. 

“No bacteria of greater concern, such as E. coli, were found in the testing, and water users do not need to boil water or take other corrective actions,” said Gonzales Public Works Director, Harold Wolgamott

Wolgamott said they test wells regularly for safety. In August, 27 tests were conducted, and four of those tests showed levels of coliform above the drinking water standard.

Gonzales is required to do at least 12 well tests per month.

“When the August results came in, the well was shut down immediately and a Level 1 assessment of its condition was conducted, as required by state law. The assessment was completed by Sept. 11. Well 5 was confirmed as the source of the bad tests,” said Wolgamott.

Well 5 is currently being repaired and expected to be tested and back into service by November 30.

See the notice sent to water users below:

Important Information About Your Drinking Water

Este informe contiene informacion muy importante sobre su agua potable.

Por favor hable con alguien que lo pueda traducer.

City of Gonzales Water System Had Levels of Coliform Bacteria Above the Drinking Water Standard

Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this is not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what you should do, what happened, and what we did to correct this situation.

We routinely monitor for drinking water contaminants. We took 27 samples to test for the presence of coliform bacteria during August 2017. Four of these samples showed the presence of total coliform bacteria. The standard is that no more than one (1) sample per month may test positive for coliform bacteria.


What should I do?


  • You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions.
  • This is not an emergency. If this had been, you would have been notified immediately. Total coliform bacteria are generally not harmful themselves. Coliforms are bacteria which are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially-harmful, bacteria may be present. Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed and this was a warning of potential problems.


  • Usually, coliforms are a sign that there could be a problem with the system’s treatment or distribution system (pipes). Whenever we detect coliform bacteria in any sample, we do follow-up testing to see if other bacteria of greater concern, such as E. coli, are present. We did not find any of these bacteria in our subsequent testing, and further testing shows that this problem has been resolved.


  • If you have health issues concerning the consumption of this water, you may wish to consult your doctor.

What was done?

In instances like this, federal law requires that we conduct a Level 1 Assessment of our water system immediately after learning of the violation to determine the source of contamination. We are required to report to the State Water Board within 30 days of triggering the assessment the actions we took to correct the deficiencies found and a schedule for correcting other deficiencies not corrected within 30 days. The assessment has been completed on September 11, 2017. All deficiencies identified in the assessment were OR will be corrected by November 30, 2017.

What happened? Well 5 at 725 Fanoe Rd was identified as the likely source of the total coliform. It was shut down immediately. The well and housing was cleaned completely inside and out twice. The well was tested again and the material was still present. The City will be pulling the well and repairing whatever is needed to put the well back into production as soon as possible. The well will be tested thoroughly prior to being put back online in our system. 

We anticipate resolving the problem this month.

For more information, please contact:

Harold R Wolgamott, Public Works Director

831-675-5000 or P.O. Box 647, Gonzales, CA, 93926

Please share this information with all of the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distribute copies by hand or mail.

Secondary Notification Requirements

Upon receipt of notification from a person operating a public water system, the following notification must be given within 10 days [Health and Safety Code Section 116450(g)]:

  • Schools: must notify school employees, students, and parents.
  • Residential Rental Property Owners of Managers: must notify tenants.
  • Business property owners, managers, or operators: must notify employees of businesses located on property.

This notice is being sent to you by the City of Gonzales water system in compliance with the California Domestic Water Quality and Monitoring Regulations as a means of keeping the public informed.



comments powered by Disqus