Water Main Break : QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Water Main Break : QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

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Posted by Meteorologist Robb Ellis - bio | email | facebook

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - While Cape Fear Public Utility Authority crews continue work on the water main break, people are wanting to know exactly what they need to do.

Here is a layout of restrictions, advisories and recommendations

WHAT IS A BOIL WATER ADVISORY?
Boil water advisory is a public statement advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it.  Advisories are issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become contaminated.  An advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but rather the possibility exists.  

There are a few reasons why Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) might issue boil water advisory.

1.  If any untreated water reaches the distribution system.
2.  If there is loss of pressure in the system, or in a large portion of the system.
3.  There is a water main break where dirt, debris, or other objects may have entered the distribution piping.

HOW LONG DO I BOIL MY WATER?
You should boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking.  This includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, washing raw foods, preparation of drinks, and water for pets.

WHY AM I BOILING MY WATER?
Boiling removes harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness.  You should throw away ice made during the time the advisory was issued, since freezing does not kill bacteria.

WHAT IF I HAVE A FILTER ON  MY FAUCET?
If you have a filter on your faucet or refrigerator, you should still boil your water.  Most point of use filters are designed to improve the taste and odor of water, not to remove harmful bacteria.

CAN I WASH LAUNDRY AND SHOWER?
It's not necessary to boil water for other household purposes, such as showering, laundry, bathing, or washing dishes. 

WHAT IF I OWN A BAR OR FOOD ESTABLISHMENT? 

Water Use

  • Water from the water system can be used for drinking only if it is boiled
  • Turn off ice makers, soda fountains, drinking fountains, and any other water-using equipment
  • Label all remaining water sources "Do Not Drink"
  • Provide bottled water or drinks
  • Use only bagged ice from an approved water source 

Food Preparation
•Only serve food that has been heated to at least 1650 F as part of the cooking process, packaged foods obtained from approved commercial sources, and fruit which is normally peeled before eating
•Food service workers should use hand sanitizers after washing their hands and food grade disposable gloves

Dishwashing
•Only use commercial dishwashers equipped with hot water (1800 F) sanitizing cycles OR single-service eating and drinking utensils 

WHAT IS THE CFPUA DOING NOW?
During boil water advisory, CFPUA is performing laboratory testing to determine if the water meets all standards and is safe to drink.  Once this testing is complete and the quality and safety of the water is assured, the boil water advisory will be lifted.

WHAT IF LAB TESTS ARE POSITIVE?
If testing were to indicate the presence of harmful bacteria, the boil water advisory would be extended.  During such an extension, CFPUA would be performing more tests to continually monitor water quality, and the boil advisory would be lifted when the quality and safety of the water is assured.

WHAT DO I DO AFTER THE ADVISORY?
After an advisory has been lifted, you should flush faucets used for drinking, ice makers, water fountains, etc., prior to using them for cooking or drinking.  Flushing means letter the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes, usually 1 minute.


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