Magna tap water under a boil order — because of a dead raccoon

Residents of Magna will have to boil their tap water for the next 24 to 48 hours, after a dead raccoon was found in a municipal water tank.

Residents of the town west of Salt Lake City are being told by the Magna Water District not to drink directly from the tap, and to boil tap water before drinking it.

The raccoon was found Wednesday by divers inspecting one of Magna’s eight water tanks, Terry Pollock, the water district’s general manager, said Thursday.

The tank, which holds 500,000 gallons, was taken offline immediately, Pollock said. The tank has been drained, and is being cleaned and disinfected, he said.

The tank serves water for Magna’s northwest corner, Pollock said. But the whole town will receive the boil order, Pollock said, based on guidance from experts at the state’s Division of Drinking Water in the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

The water will be tested for the next day or two, and when health officials are confident there is no contamination, the boil order will be lifted, Pollock said.

The district believes a contractor working on the tank in the last week or two may have left a portal open, Pollock said, which allowed the raccoon to get inside. The raccoon had not shown signs of decomposition.

The Magna district has eight tanks, with a total capacity of 17 million gallons of water, Pollock said.

Greg Schulz, administrator for Magna Township, said he would be issuing an alert to residents informing them of the boil order. The alert will appear on the township’s webpage, and residents will also receive an automated phone call.