Oakley residents are being told to boil their water after testing along State Road 32 showed that bacteria has contaminated drinking water in the city. The Summit County Health Department issued the boil order Wednesday afternoonand it was still in effect as of noon Thursday.

"People should boil their water until it tests OK," said Brent Ovard, deputy director of the Summit County Health Department. "It may just be for a few days."

Water in Oakley's public system is contaminated with coliform bacteria, Ovard said. Dangerous fecal matter was present in some of the water tested this week. Health officials conducted about 10 tests in Oakley.

"We took samples randomly along S.R. 32 and seven of the 10 were positive for coliform, two came up fecal," Ovard said.

The contamination might have come during flooding this week in Oakley if water pipes in the town were damaged, he said.

"We're going to see if we've got something in the system or if it's coming from the water source," Ovard said. "We're doing additional sampling up in that area as we speak."

Those connected to Oakley's public water system should boil their tap water before drinking it. Bottled water can be picked up at Oakley Town Hall.

"It has already gone out on reverse 911 and they are putting up posters in the town," Ovard said.

The feces of warm-blooded animals are rich with coliform, according to Ovard. The E. coli poisoning could cause diarrhea, intestinal disorders and more serious conditions, he said, adding that boil orders in Summit County are rare.

"I can't think back to when we've had to do that," Ovard said.

On Thursday, Oakley Mayor Blake Frazier said the city had "heavily chlorinated" the water asystem and was expecting more test results later today.He added that residents can continue to pick up free bottled drinking water at the town hall.