Artesia residents left without tap water after E. Coli contamination

ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – Officials say over the weekend, water in one southeastern New Mexico city was contaminated with E. coli. Now, Artesia has no tap water, and that could go on for possibly the next five days.

Residents are upset about the short notice and now, the shortage of bottled water. Restaurants, businesses, and residents have all felt the effects from E. coli being found in the water in Artesia.

“My gosh, you would’ve thought it was a bomb explosion. People were carrying out water by the cases and cases and cases,” said La Fonda restaurant owner Selah Perkins.

La Fonda restaurant in downtown Artesia is taking precautions to make sure their visitors don’t get ill from contaminated water, but it’s coming at a cost.

“We didn’t open yesterday, our busiest day of the week that pays our bills, and we went ahead and closed for safety purposes,” Perkins explained.

Not only have restaurants felt the hit, but so have grocery stores. One local store says they’ve had to stock up because their sales have risen.

“Oh, tons more water sales, everybody is coming in to buy water for their coffee and for just everything they can think of,” said Fenn’s Market manager Ron Sponagel.

“I bought a couple of cases, took one over to my mom’s house, kept one for ourselves, but other than that just boiling water like they said to do dishes and stuff,” said Corinna Herrera, Artesia resident.

But how did Artesia residents find out their water was contaminated?

“A daughter of mine sent us a text from Facebook,” said Herrera.

“I heard along the grapevine kinda like everybody else,” said Perkins.

The Artesia water department said the water gets tested bi-monthly and there was 10 days between when the water was last tested to when they discovered the bacteria.

KRQE News 13 tried to ask the mayor if the city was going to bring in potable water for residents he said he was too busy to talk.

KRQE News 13 also asked him about how the message got out, since it was only put on Facebook. He said the city always notifies residents through Facebook. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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