Students and staff at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., have been advised to boil drinking water because of E. coli contamination.

An alert went out Friday warning the campus of the outbreak when the bacteria was found in a building within the water-distribution system on Aug. 13 and 14. The source of the contamination is unknown. The nearby College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., wasn't affected.

Chlorination and flushing of the water system was implemented immediately, and samples will be taken at daily or weekly intervals until the water is safe to use. School officials said they will inform people when the bacteria is gone and they receive approval from the state Department of Health to lift the boil order.

Students and staff were told to use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation. The school has been offering water filling stations and bottled water.

The presence of the E. coli bacteria indicates the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste. Microbes in the waste can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms.