Areas of Washington DC Affected by Water Boil Advisory After Drop in Pressure in Water Main


Residents in Northwest and Northeast Washington D.C. recently have been advised to boil their water before drinking water or using water for cooking. Washington D.C. Water officials said a total of about 34,000 customers have been affected, but the number could be higher because a single customer — such as a large apartment building customer — could actually represent hundreds of residents.

The original boil advisory, issued Friday, July 13, 2018 at 4:30 a.m. came after a valve malfunction at the Bryant Street pumping station near Howard University Thursday evening about 8:30 p.m., which caused an unexpected drop in water pressure for about 66 minutes (elapsed time until water pressure was restored). The boil order is expected to remain in effect until at least Saturday morning, July 14, 2018. A drop in water pressure in pipes can cause contaminants to draw into the water if the pressure outside the pipe is greater than the pressure inside the pipe.


“When asked by reporters at the news conference why it took nearly eight hours from the time the valve issue was fixed to alert D.C. residents, Gadis said it took time for workers to understand and pinpoint the problem.

‘It took some time for us to get there,’ he said. ‘But we took every precautionary measure that we could.’ ”

— WTOP: DC boil water advisory: What happened, who’s affected, how long will it last?

The Bryant Street Pumping Station distributes a significant part of the Washington D.C. water supply, and the valve malfunction caused a sharp drop in water pressure — or no water service at all — across a large area of Washington D.C. The water main that was affected by the valve malfunction supplies water to …

Potomac Heights, The Palisades, Foxhall and Georgetown in Northwest;

Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights and Petworth in the North; and

Stronghold, Edgewood, and Brookland in Northeast.

The neighborhoods are north of Washington D.C. and Arlington, Virginia.

Officials emphasized that the advisory was only a precaution, but LaQuandra Nesbitt, the director of the D.C. Department of Health, said residents who ingested water after the valve malfunction on Thursday night, should monitor themselves for upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea. If you have those symptoms, you should contact your doctor, Nesbitt emphasized that symptoms may or may not be related to ingesting the water.



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During a news conference late Friday morning, DC Water reported the footprint of the area under the boil advisory had gotten smaller because a smaller area of the city was affected by potential contamination than originally thought.

“The footprint has gotten smaller as of today, so we’ve been able to … pinpoint those customers.”

— David Gadis, Chief Executive and General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water)

DC Water said customers who are outside the boundaries on the most recent map were never affected by the issue. The White House and The U.S. Capitol area were not affected by the boil order.

Customers have been advised to use cooled, boiled water or bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, preparing and cooking food, making ice, preparing infant formula or giving water to pets, according to the advisory.

Officials are conducting water quality tests across the city to ensure that the water is safe. The results of the water testing will be compiled on Saturday.

Chris Rodriguez, the director of D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency said swimming pools and spray parks in the areas of Washington D.C. under the boil advisory will be closed while the advisory remains in effect.

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs announced that several of its headquarters buildings were closed for the remainder of the day Friday because of the boil advisory.

Major points of interest in the Boil Advisory Area include …

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
Part of Georgetown University Campus
Part of Howard University Campus
Part of George Washington University at Mount Vernon College Campus
Part of the Catholic University of America Campus
Part of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park
District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation Headquarters
Children’s National Medical Center
Fort Bunker Hill
Providence Hospital
British Embassy Washington
Embassy of New Zealand
Embassy of Bolivia
Embassy of Brazil
Embassy of Italy
Embassy of New Zealand
Former Embassy of Iran
Embassy of South Africa

Several National Parks in the area were also affected.

The Vice President’s mansion was not affected. The V.P.’s mansion, the United States Naval Observatory and most of the Observatory Circle neighborhood is located just north of the area of the boil order.

Emergency teams worked overnight to pinpoint where the problem was and how many people were affected.

“We wanted to make sure that we contacted the right people, that we did not send an alarm to the people that were not affected. And so we do feel like that we did the right thing and we did everything that was possible and within our power.”

— David Gadis, Chief Executive and General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water)

The D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency issued the boil-water advisory shortly after 4:30 a.m. Friday after receiving the go-ahead from DC Water, said Rodriquez, the agency’s director.

DC Water released these safety tips ….

Customers should:

* If water is discolored, run the tap until clear, prior to boiling.
* Bring water to a rolling boil for 3 minutes.
* Allow water to cool before using.
* Store cooled water in a clean container with a cover.

Customers should use cooled, boiled water or bottled water for:

* Drinking
* Brushing teeth
* Preparing and cooking food
* Making ice
* Preparing infant formula
* Giving water to pets

The valve problem was corrected and pressure has been restored. Our teams will continue to test samples of the water and we will lift the advisory when we determine the water is safe. Customers will be notified immediately when the advisory is lifted. If you are concerned about your health or the health of your family, please consult your health care provider. Please share this information with everyone who drinks this water, especially those who may not receive this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).

DC Water customers were also advised to boil water if they experience low water pressure or had no water after 8:30 p.m. on July 12, 2018.

If DC Water customers don’t have water, they have been advised to boil water when service is restored.

Could this happen here in Arlington Heights and Chicagoland? Do communities test for safe water during water distribution malfunctions and water main breaks? Do communities have effective notifications for water safety issues? Cardinal News report coming Monday, July 16, 2018.

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