Boil Water Advisory Over in DC

DC Water says customers should run taps for 10 minutes to flush out standing water

A boil water advisory that affected thousands of people in D.C. Friday and Saturday has been lifted completely, DC Water says.

About 7,000 DC Water customers in Northeast were the last to get the all-clear. After an initial test came back positive for bacteria, further results did not show such bacteria, DC Water said.

Residents should turn on cold water taps and let them run for about 10 minutes to flush out standing water, DC Water suggests.

Otherwise, water use can return to normal. Pools in the affected areas were closed, but most reopened by Sunday afternoon.

“Protecting the health and safety of our customers is paramount in providing reliable water service to the District of Columbia,” David Gadis, General Manager and CEO of DC Water, said. “We’re sorry for any inconvenience this caused, but we will always put our customers’ safety first during these types of events.”

Water from Northeast D.C. tested positive for contaminants on Saturday, prompting DC Water to narrow the boil advisory to neighborhoods east of the Metro tracks servicing the Fort Totten station, including University Heights, Michigan Park, North Michigan Park, Queens Chapel and parts of Brookland.

Water taken from pipes servicing those neighborhoods initially tested positive for coliform bacteria. The water did not test positive for E. coli, and the test could have been a false positive, said Chuck Sweeney, a director for DC Water, at a press conference on Saturday.

Further tests confirmed the water was safe leading up to the third day of the boil water advisory, which was initially put into place Friday.

DC Water said it dropped the boil water advisory for all of the other previously affected neighborhoods because all of the tests in those areas came back negative.

Everyone is now cleared to drink their tap water.

It's not confirmed that the pressure issue at a pumping station that sparked the advisory caused the possible contamination, Sweeney said.

A boil water advisory was put in effect after a valve was found open about 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Bryant Street Pumping Station, which created conditions for possible contamination.

The water authority announced Friday morning that customers across Northeast and Northwest needed to boil their water because it was possible that contaminants entered the supply. Some residents were told their water was safe later on Friday, while many residents of Northwest and Northeast woke up Saturday unable to drink water straight from the tap.

The impact was felt around the city as several pools closed and restaurants were unable to serve soft drinks, coffee or any other beverage connected to city water.

The advisory was initially a precaution as officials tested the water.

DC Water CEO David Gadis apologized Saturday that the DC Water website went down as residents logged on Friday in search of more information about the boil advisory. He said the utility will also work on communicating with customers in the future amid criticism that all customers weren't adequately informed about the potential safety risk.

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