By CBSNewYork Team

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A boil water advisory is in effect for thousands of people in Ocean County  after E. coli was found.

Bottled water is being distributed from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. to Berkeley Township residents whose water comes from the township’s Municipal Utility Authority, or MUA.

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There have been no reports of anyone getting sick, but the authority’s executive director, Michelle Nugent, explains the order requires that you boil your water for at least one minute before using it for any potable reasons, such as brushing your teeth or for your pets.

Nugent told CBS2’s Meg Baker a water sample taken on July 14 tested positive for E. coli, a bacteria that can make your very sick.

Since then, all samples have come back negative, but the root cause has not been found.

The utility says bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source, for example, following heavy rains. It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system, the pipes or a failure in the water treatment process.

Many of the people in line for bottled water said they hadn’t heard about an issue until a neighbor informed them.

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“We got the news kind of a little bit late,” one man said.

“We got word this morning,” another resident said.

“We put the message out on the township Nixle system, and we’re encouraging all of our residents to sign up for that,” Nugent said.

It was also posted on social media.

E. coli indicates the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste.

Those residents who have Aqua NJ, New Jersey American Water, Shore Water or Suez Water are not affected.

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Meg Baker contributed to this report. 

CBSNewYork Team