UPDATE - Friday - 3/7/2014, 11:48 a.m. ET
The boil water advisory in Northwest D.C. has been lifted by DC Water.
Customers no longer have to boil their tap water. They can use their water for all purposes.
DC Water says the drinking water meets water quality standards.
EARLIER - Thursday - 3/6/2014, 3:28 pm ET
WASHINGTON -- Some DC Water customers, including students at American University, are being asked to boil their water for at least 1 minute before drinking it, making coffee with it or brushing their teeth with it.
The boil-water advisory for about 1,000 customers mainly west and southwest of Rock Creek Park will continue Thursday and possibly into Friday too.
The problem began with a power outage Wednesday at the Fort Reno Pumping Station that caused a drop in water pressure.
"If the pressure is reduced far enough, it actually can create a negative pressure in the water pipe, so rather than being heavy pressure in the pipe pushing out, it creates pressure pulling in, and there's the possibility that contamination could be drawn into the water pipe and into the system,"says George Hawkins, General Manager of DC Water. "We have no indication that that has happened, but it could have happened."
Some customers lost water service; others had low water pressure.
All service has since been restored, but to be extra careful, a boil-water advisory was issued Wednesday and Hawkins explained why it may take some time before it's lifted.
"We have to do water monitoring to confirm whether there's an issue or not, and the tests that we have to take take at least 24 hours to be done."
Wednesday night, affected customers received robocalls, and informational cards were delivered to them explaining the situation and what to do.
Hawkins says it's OK for customers affected by the advisory to take showers and do laundry.
"The risk is for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, infant formula (and) ice for drinks - the water that would be consumed."
Because of the water outage, school breakfasts weren't served at the following D.C. Public Schools: Hearst Elementary School, Janney Elementary School; Lafayette Elementary School; Mann Elementary School; Murch Elementary School; Deal Middle School; and Wilson High School. The schools will have bottled water, limited lunch options.
D.C. Water also offered the following instructions to prepare water.
- Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
- 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:
- Brushing teeth
- Preparing and cooking food
- Making ice
- Giving water to pets
- Preparing infant formula
For a list of affected addresses, click here.
For a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the boil advisory, click here.
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