All residents of White Rock, B.C., are being told to boil their tap water before drinking it after E. coli was detected in the city's water supply.

People using the water for cooking, brushing their teeth, washing vegetables or making ice should boil it first as well, authorities say, for at least one minute.

The advisory will remain in place until EPCOR, the company in charge of White Rock's water supply, finishes flushing and cleaning the distribution system.

The company estimates it will be in effect for about a week.

Spokesman Dave Rector says it is the first time EPCOR has had to issue a boil advisory in the region. "It's bizarre, we've never had one here," he said. "The water here is really stable microbiologically."

The bacteria was discovered in a single neighbourhood during a routine sampling test on August 18th. A second test confirmed the results on Friday night, spurring the advisory.

E. coli usually enters a city's water supply after a period of heavy rainfall, Rector said, though White Rock has seen little rain in recent weeks. Crews are now working to determine how the bacteria could have entered the water supply, and if anything else came with it.

"We're walking around the area to determine if any construction has occurred, either by the city or a homeowner, and we're looking for anomalies that may have been caused by that," he said.

The advisory applies to 80 homes in South Surrey as well, Rector said. All have had advisories delivered to their doors.

No illnesses have been reported yet, but the Fraser Health Authority will be monitoring the region.

"They're going to be pursuing that angle, to see if there have been any increases in visits or positive tests," Rector said.