The “boil water advisory” issued by DC Water that began around 4 a.m. Friday, July 13, was over by Sunday morning. The area initially affected included wide swaths of Northwest and Northeast D.C. — and Georgetown. A loss of water pressure, which can lead to contamination, was detected at the Bryant Street pumping station.
Most residents handled the incident in stride, it seems. “It was annoying,” said one Georgetown homeowner, “but really not a problem. I have my tea, my Perrier and more. Was I to worry about brushing my teeth?” In the affected areas, bottled water just about sold out at supermarkets.
The water utility faced some criticism of its boil-your-water announcement not being quick enough or widespread enough for those with early morning routines. There were also issues with getting the information out via robocall and email alert systems.
Besides homes, businesses like bars and restaurants had to rework how they gave out water and fountain soda. Hospitals have a separate water supply for emergencies.
By Saturday afternoon, the affected area had shrunk to a spot in upper Northeast.
On Sunday, July 15, DC Water — its formal name is the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority — announced: “All DC Water customers in the impact area under the boil water advisory can use tap water for all purposes after following the instructions provided below. DC Water issued the boil water advisory as a conservative measure to protect public health, and we sincerely appreciate our customers’ patience while we took necessary precautions to deliver water.”
“Protecting the health and safety of our customers is paramount in providing reliable water service to the District of Columbia,” said David L. Gadis, GM and CEO of DC Water. “We’re sorry for any inconvenience this caused, but we will always put our customers’ safety first during these types of events.”
DC Water said it lifted the advisory after tests confirmed that drinking water meets all water quality safety standards. DC Water tested water samples from multiple sites in the affected area and has verified that there is no risk of water contamination from the loss of pressure.
According to DC Water, customers residing in the previously affected area should take the following precautions before returning to normal water usage:
— Run the cold water taps for 10 minutes (if water was not used at all during the advisory).
— Discard food or ice prepared with water that was not boiled between 8:30 p.m. on July 12 and 8:30 a.m. on July 15.
— Consult the owner’s manual to find out how to sanitize appliances and home filtration systems if used during the advisory.