BILLINGS – A Billings disc jockey got into some hot water with the Department of Environmental Quality over an April Fool’s Day joke in which he told listeners the city was under a boil order because of a virus in the water.
Casey Paul told listeners of FM rock station KRPM that city residents should boil their water because a virus called the “ordure virus” had gotten in to the water system. He dropped hints throughout the spot that the boil order was a joke, but not everyone heard the entire bit or caught on to the joke.
Two Billings employees of the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation brought up the boil order and how they hadn’t been feeling well recently, and that conversation was relayed to officials with the DEQ.
The DEQ issues boil orders, but they hadn’t heard anything about such an order in Billings.
John Weikel, an environmental science specialist with the department, confirmed it was a prank and then called Paul at the radio station.
“They thought it was very comical. I elaborated that it was not funny,” Weikel said Tuesday. “It is a very serious accusation to make, especially on radio that is licensed by the (Federal Communications Commission) to issue public health warnings.”
Paul said he regrets the joke, but he didn’t think anyone would believe it.
“We just thought it was a joke that nobody was going to buy for more than two minutes,” he said. “So yeah, we had to visit with a couple of officials.”
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