Dental practice adjusts to boil water order

The boil water order in Kent County has been a nuisance for home owners, but it's an added cost for business owners.

Dentists have been able to keep their practices open, but it's not without a lot of hassle and extra costs incurred to ensure that patients stay safe from E. coli.

At Dr. Eric George's general dentistry practice in Coventry, reminders to avoid tap water are everywhere. In a business where clean water is essential for day-to-day operations, that means taking extra steps to keep patients safe.

"It's pretty difficult when you can't use anything from the tap," George said.

George said while the E. coli was discovered Sunday morning, the practice only found out about it Monday.

Rather than cancel appointments employees have revamped their system, adding gallon after gallon of distilled water to each unit, rinsing tools with distilled water, and using hand sanitizer or washing hands with bottled water.

It's the only safe way to avoid E. coli, but it isn't cheap.

"Probably a couple hundred dollars a day for water, distilled water," George said.

That's not including the cost incurred from patients canceling their appointments out of fear of catching something from the water.

"You become very aware of how vital water is in your day-to-day life," dental assistant Brittney Rockwell said.

Rockwell is the one getting her hands dirty making sure the office is clean enough for surgery.

"There are a lot of things as a doctor and an assistant that become second nature to you. You don't think about them anymore. Using the water is one of them," Rockwell said.

She just wants patients to know that they're safe.

George echoed some complaints heard in the community. He said he wishes the office was given a warning from the Health Department or the Kent County Water Authority directly, rather than just hearing about it on the news.