It sounds like a plotline straight out of “The X-Files.” According to ABCNews.com, the residents of Colcord, Okla. are battling a mysterious infestation of blood worms in their water supply.
The blood worms have no known health effects, but officials aren’t taking any risks. Schools in the area will remain closed through Labor Day. People are being warned not to use water except when absolutely necessary.
“Right now there’s still a precautionary water use advisory, so still encouraging people not to use the water for anything except bathing, not to use it for food preparation, brushing teeth, drinking,” Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) spokeswoman Erin Hatfield told ABCNews.com.
The red worms range from about half an inch to an inch in length, according to ABCNews.com.
“They weren’t coming out of people’s faucets,” Hatfield said. “They were found in the distribution system, originally at a convenience store that was having their filters serviced. And they were found in the filter.”
Officials are baffled as to how the infestation happened. As CNN points out, blood worms are typically found in the southeastern United States rather than Oklahoma. In fact, the last time a blood worm infestation happened in Oklahoma was more than 20 years ago in the town of Drumright, over 100 miles away.
“The chlorine won’t kill them, the bleach won’t kill them. You can take the worms out of the filter system and put them in a straight cup of bleach and leave them in there for about four hours, and they still won’t die,” Cody Gibby, Colcord water commissioner told KHBS-TV.
Officials in the small town of Colcord, which is about 80 miles east of Tulsa, say they are looking into rectifying the situation as soon as possible.
“The DEQ will be onsite sometime this week to inspect the facility and try to ascertain how this may have happened and hopefully to find a way to prevent it from happening again,” Hatfield told ABCNews.com.