River Drifters fixing water issues after reported illness

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF)- River Drifters is a restaurant, bar and adventure company that opened up in July.

Last week several people, including restaurant owners and staff, became ill after the buildings water was contaminated from a suspected well breach.

“We noticed that we had employees that had become ill, with something stomach related and we did as well, ” said owner Charlie Eilch. “Then we found out it had gone to some customers who called the health department.”

The Hamilton County Health Department is investigating the problem and confirmed three cases of norovirus with two positive e. coli samples.

A representative from the health department said they performed tests on the water confirming the contamination and have taken measures to decontaminate the area.

Lowe Wilkins said “we’ve done a disinfection of the restaurant, with the cooperation of the owner, with a 1 to 10 chlorine solution. We’ve done an education process with each of the employees, staff and the owners and basically they’re currently using an alternate water source for a temporary period.”

Charlie and his wife Renee own several other small businesses, one of them being the food truck Heart & Bowl.

Charlie said they have been using portable water in the food truck to do their dishes and that they are only serving bottled water and sodas until they can get the well fixed.

The Eilchs also want the public to know they’re sorry and want to make things right.

“We’re sorry that it happened, we’re sorry that something went wrong with our well. And if we could have prevented it, I promise we would have,” said Charlie.

They are currently beginning the process of replacing the entire breached well.

 

Categories: Hamilton County, Health, Local News