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FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Environment Department released a boil water advisory this afternoon for customers on the Harvest Gold and Morningstar Water systems.

Operated by the AV Water company, the systems serve nearly 7,000 customers in the Crouch Mesa and Bloomfield areas. The advisory was issued after high levels of sediment were detected in the water, which can indicate the presence of E. coli or other disease-causing organisms, according to a press release from the NMED. The release advises water users to boil their water for five minutes before drinking, cooking, washing dishes and bathing.

The warning comes just days after the lifting of another boil advisory for the Morningstar Water System. That advisory lasted about a week and was lifted after tests showed the water was not contaminated. The episode, however, sparked concern among customers about a lack of notification and transparency on the part of AV Water.

Beth Sutherland, a resident of the Anasazi Estates subdivision, told The Daily Times last week she was notified of the advisory by her granddaughter, who saw a post on the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management's Facebook page.

Company officials could not be reached for comment today, and the operator of the company's after-hours answering service said she was not aware of the most recent boil advisory.

Michelle Truby-Tillen, of the county's OEM office, said in the case last week, AV Water asked her office to notify customers through Facebook and a reverse 911 call. Truby-Tillen said she was not notified of the advisory's release today, however.

"It's another one of those things where they didn't tell us anything," she said. "The communication deal is pretty complicated when it comes to these water system people."

Brett Berntsen covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606.

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