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Tropicana tower to reopen after E. coli discovery

The Tropicana’s Island Tower, which the company voluntarily closed Monday after traces of a potentially dangerous bacteria were found in well water used by hotel customers, should reopen later today, the Strip hotel-casino said Wednesday.

Water was shut down to nearly 800 rooms at Tropicana this week after traces of E. coli were found during a routine test of a distribution system using a supplemental well to supply water to those rooms, the Southern Nevada Health District confirmed Wednesday. The well water is mixed with water supplied by the Las Vegas Valley Water District for use in the hotel’s Island Tower.

The Tropicana is the only resort now using well water for customer use.

There have been no reports of illness from customers or employees who used water in the tower, said Hud Englehart, spokesman for the Tropicana’s owner, Tropicana Entertainment.

Health District spokeswoman Stephanie Bethel said samples from the system supplying water to the tower are taken twice a week because it takes in "noncommunity water" from a well.

"The most recent testing has come back negative," Bethel said. "We’re doing some final required testing just so that we know for sure that the E. coli is no longer present."

Tropicana Entertainment asked for more testing of the entire property’s internal system and the well water, which will be conducted today.

"There was just no way in hell we were going to address this other than as serious as we thought it was," Englehart said.

He said rooms in the tower should be back on line this evening, in time for the Fourth of July weekend.

Nearly 490 customers were moved Monday to other rooms on the property or to other hotels.

For the foreseeable future, the hotel will only use water supplied by the water district when the tower reopens, Englehart said.

Water district spokesman J.C. Davis said its supply has also been checked to ensure bacteria did not come from the water district’s system.

The Tropicana is one of the few resorts along the Strip that still holds groundwater rights, Davis said.

"In fact, we didn’t even know these guys (Tropicana) had one," Davis said. "It is pretty rare for somebody to have a supplemental well for potable supply."

Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at aknightly@ reviewjournal.com or (702) 477-3893.

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