Kent Co. Motel Used by State as Homeless Housing Has E. Coli Con - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent Co. Motel Used by State as Homeless Housing Has E. Coli Contamination

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CAMDEN, Del. (WBOC) - A Kent County motel has E. coli in its drinking water. The problem at the Shamrock Motel in Camden has the state getting involved.

The Shamrock is part of a state voucher program for homeless people. The Division of State Service Centers uses a number of motels throughout Delaware as temporary emergency housing.

And officials say having an E. coli contamination at any motel used in this way is a serious problem.

People living at the Shamrock Motel got a letter Wednesday informing them E. coli had been found in the water supply on Sept. 8. It told them to boil the water before using it or to get bottled water.

The state had six people on vouchers staying at the motel at the time. Michael miller is one them. He's been at the motel for three weeks.

"What did we drink for three weeks? What do I have in my lungs? I'm diabetic. I need water," he said.

E. coli is a bacteria. It's presence in water means that water may be contaminated with sewage or human/animal waste.

E. coli can cause severe illness, like diarrhea, cramps, nausea and headaches. It is a particular risk to young children and people with compromised immune systems. Symptoms usually appear within two to four days but can take up to eight.

"We were talking to the manager there," said John Calloway, who was also put in the motel by the state. "She said she believes it's the septic backing up into the drinking water. It is nasty down there."

WBOC went into the motel to talk with management about what was being done to correct the issue. But nobody there would comment.

The state Department of Health and Social Services tells WBOC it's not placing anyone else at this motel until the water problem has been fixed. Officials say state staff has been able to contact five of the six people it had staying at the Shamrock Motel and move them elsewhere in the Dover area.

"We were concerned enough to come get WBOC to tell our story, so nobody else checks in there and drinks the water."

The Division of Public Health says the motel was supposed to flush the water system Thursday. Officials will test the water early next week. The water needs two clean tests before the boil notice can be removed.

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