Hey Kate! Thanks a lot for the insight. I'm not so sure I agree with comparing your situation to my own, though.
E. coli is a bacteria that is naturally present in our guts, but gets disrupted if we're exposed to other strains. The two organisms you talked about are both parasites, which are very serious. If I had parasites in my water I'd be disinfecting everything right now no questions asked! Those are not things you mess with.
From all of the news articles I've been reading about my city's issue, none of them imply it's "super serious". They are just obligated under federal law to inform us that yes, we have found trace amounts of the bacteria in our reservoirs, but the odds of actually getting sick are extremely low.
I mainly asked my cage-cleaning question because I haven't experienced this issue while owning birds, so I'm not sure how to handle this. We've all been using this "contaminated" water since Tuesday, because the city had to run several tests to confirm the issue, which delayed the announcement.
I haven't seen any sign of problems with my boys, no diarrhea or lethargy or anything. I certainly haven't felt bad and I've been drinking loads of water. I just made the unfortunate choice of cleaning everything yesterday, so I'm not sure how worried I should be about their stuff
I've been reading about this stuff all afternoon, and have found a ton of resources saying that E. coli apparently doesn't live long on surfaces? Ours isn't the type that's in food outbreaks, it's much less severe than that. The strain of E. coli associate with foodborne illness is very, very serious.