Drinking water warning issued for City of Flint residents: Boil even your filtered water before using

The elusive glass of clean water in Flint (Photo by Jan Worth-Nelson)

The following is a word-for-word  notification from the City of Flint:

The City of Flint water system lost pressure and contamination may have occurred
Due to a drop in pressure in the City of Flint water supply, bacterial contamination may have occurred in the water system.  Bacteria are generally not harmful and are common throughout our environment. Corrective measures are currently being undertaken to correct the situation.
What should I do?
AS A PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE, DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST.  Bring all FILTERED water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water.  If you are currently NOT using a filter to remove lead from drinking water, FLUSH your water for AT LEAST 7 minutes before collecting any to boil.  Boiled FILTERED, boiled FLUSHED, or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and preparing food.  Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. Continue using boiled or bottled water until further notice.
Due to the pressure loss, there may be trapped air and loose sediment in your water lines. The air and sediment may be removed by flushing you water system.  DO NOT FLUSH YOUR SYSTEM THROUGH THE FILTER.  The resulting air and sediment may affect the performance of your filter and the filter cartridge should be replaced.
What happened? What is being done?
These precautionary actions are being taken due to the loss of water pressure in the water distribution system caused by a water main break. Whenever a water system loses pressure for any significant length of time, precautionary measures are recommended. The 24” transmission main broke was isolated and is being repaired. Our transmission mains typically don’t service customers directly and the interruption in service was very limited. The water main break occurred at 12th Street and Van Slyke and was very severe causing a large area to be depressurized or have reduced pressure. Not knowing the extent of the area depressurized we are issuing it for the whole City of Flint water system. Provided the samples pass we expect the boil water notice to be lifted after 24 hours.
The City of Flint Water Department is working to get the water main break located, repaired and pressure restored. Water staff will be taking other remedial actions such as flushing and collecting bacteriological samples from around the system near the area of the low pressure area.  The samples will be collected to determine that the water quality meets the state drinking water standards.  We will inform you when tests show no bacteria and you no longer need to boil your water.  We anticipate resolving the problem later today. This precautionary boil water notice shall remain in effect until results from the sampling verify the water is safe to drink.  Customers will be advised when the boil water advisory has been lifted.

For more information, please contact The City of Flint Water Department at (810) 766-7202.  General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1(800) 426-4791.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).  You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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