Woman sues Hamilton Co. restaurant; one of dozens reporting getting sick from water

River Drifters Restaurant (Image: WTVC)

UPDATE: The Hamilton County Health Department has suspended the permit for River Drifters.

The restaurant can still serve and sell prepackaged drinks and food, but they cannot prepare anything in the kitchen,

This comes as River Drifters shut down their kitchen temporarily, until the new water system can be tested by the state.



ORIGINAL STORY:

A woman is suing River Drifters Restaurant. She is one of 86 people the Hamilton County Health Department (HCHD) says reported getting sick from well water at the business.

In the lawsuit, Tina Rogers says the owners and property owners didn't tell the health department they had well water & that she has "serious & debilitating injuries."

Health department spokesman Tom Bodkin says they began investigating the restaurant on August 6th, and that of the 76 customers and 10 employees reporting sickness, they found positive results in four individuals: four were positive for norovirus, and two were positive for E. coli.

Bodkin says the restaurant will be checked daily and that moving forward, health inspectors will specifically ask what an establishment's water source is. He said the owners should have told inspectors they had well water.

The restaurant owner Charles Eich told us they did everything asked of them by inspectors.

"We filed all the paperwork necessary to open a restaurant, we got a 98 on our health inspection," Eich said. "We opened with clean drinking water, from that point I don't know what happened to the well."


Eich says they've invested $15,000 so far to fix the water system.

"We are really sorry that anybody was affected by it, and we are doing everything we can to prevent that from happening moving forward," Eich said.

They are getting a new well installed, as well as a water filtration system designed to take out bacteria. In the meantime, they are operating using bottled water.

"I would ask everybody to come back, we are going to have the cleanest water in town for sure," Eich said. "If you're blaming us we are asking for forgiveness - it wasn't any fault of our own, it's nothing we did wrong, we just got some really bad luck."

You can read the full lawsuit below: (Reading this on our mobile app? Tap here to open an external browser and read the lawsuit)

The Eich family also used to own Cheeburger Cheeburger, before the building collapsed last year. They are involved in an ongoing lawsuit with the property owner.

"It's just something unfortunate that we are living through this nightmare, trying to make the best of it and trying to take the high road and do everything right to correct the situation," Eich said.

This is a developing story - depend on us to update it as we learn more.

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