UPDATE: The Boil advisory was lifted for all areas of the District early morning Sunday, July 15th.
Friday morning, DC residents woke up to a water advisory for nearly all of the northwest and northeast portions of the city. Initial advisory areas included parts of Shaw and Mt. Vernon.
The advisory recommended boiling tap water before drinking or ingesting it. The potential contamination is the result of an open valve at the Bryant Street Pumping Station sometime after 8:30 p.m. Thursday, an issue which has since been corrected, DC Water announced later this morning.
DC Water has since released an Incident Map that indicates the specific portions of the city affected by the potential contamination — a thinner strip along DC’s center from the Palisades neighborhood, across Massachusetts and Connecticut Avenues NW, through Mount Pleasant and Bloomingdale, to the city’s Northeast border at Eastern Avenue.
DC Water advised residents of affected areas to run discolored water before boiling, and boil the water for three minutes. Pools and spray parks were closed, and DC Public Schools have taken precautions.
In a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Friday streamed through Facebook live, a DC Water official announced that the organization had worked to reach “every single customer” through robocalls, emails, their website, and both social and news media. Multiple comments on DC Water’s Facebook posts called for notifications in Spanish.
A Twitter user responded to a tweet by Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) announcing the notice. The comment why the advisory was not broadcast through the DC Alerts text system. “Many of us drank water and served water to our children before we heard about this,” the comment read.
“We ask everyone who hears this message to please share it with everyone you know of who may be using water in the impacted areas to be alert and take precautions,” the official said.
At the press conference, DC Director of Department of Health Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt said, “If you have ingested or used water for cooking or drinking prior to [the advisory] we suggest that you monitor yourself for signs or symptoms.”
“That would be having an upset stomach, or any nausea, diarrhea –those would be the types of things that you would have to be on the lookout for,” she said, noting that symptoms might not be related to the water.
“If you have those symptoms, we would suggest that you call your health care provider and have a conversation about what you should do next,” Nesbitt added, noting that there was no reason to be overly alarmed but one should monitor their symptoms if you have consumed the water.
UPDATE: DC Water has determined boundaries for a smaller affected area under the boil water advisory. No contamination was detected outside of this area. Customers can view the interactive map or call the DC Water 24-Hour Command Center at (202) 612-3400 to verify if they reside in the affected area.
Those who have been away on vacation from homes in the affected area should run their water for five minutes on their return.
The city is conducting tests on water quality, and if tests come out negative, the advisory will be lifted by tomorrow morning.