Urges Residents to Conserve Water and Boil Drinking Water


Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

Sept. 19, 2003

 

Fairfax County Water Authority Loses Power:
Urges Residents to Conserve Water and Boil Drinking Water

Due to the extreme power outages caused by Hurricane Isabel, power has been lost to the Fairfax County Water Authority water supply plants. Subsequently, water supply levels are critically low. Please conserve your personal use of water to preserve the supply for critical uses such as fire protection.

Boil Your Water Before Using
Due to the loss of power caused by Hurricane Isabel, and subsequent loss of pressure in the water system, the drinking water supply for Fairfax County Water Authority may have been both depleted and compromised. As a precautionary measure, you must boil water before using for drinking or cooking.

What should I do?
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a roiling boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms that may have entered the water system.

What is being done to correct this problem?
Once power is restored to the system, Water Authority personnel will clean the system by flushing water through fire hydrants and blow-offs. Certified Laboratory personnel will collect samples to test for potentially harmful bacteria. No potentially harmful bacteria have been found at this time. These procedures are being taken as precautionary measures for your health and safety.

We will inform you when tests show that there is no harmful or potentially harmful bacteria and you no longer need to boil your water. We anticipate restoring the system to normal (no need to boil water) within 48 to 72 hours.

Can I disinfect water?
Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. However, if you are unable to boil water for at least one minute, you can use purification tablets. These tablets are available at most drugstores or camping supply stores. Follow label directions.
    Although boiling water is the best method of disinfection, unscented household liquid bleach containing at least 5 percent by weight available chlorine can also disinfect drinking water. To one gallon of clear water, mix 6 to 8 drops of bleach (1 teaspoon to 10 gallons); let the solution stand for 30 minutes before drinking. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If, after the first chlorine treatment, the water is cloudy and contains particles, allow the particles to settle. Pour off the clear water into a separate container and add to it double the amount of bleach mentioned above.
    Swimming pool water may also be available. However, swimming pool water should only be used for bathing and flushing toilets, not drinking. In addition, a household water heater tank can supply 30-60 gallons for bathing or flushing toilets.

Turn off the electricity or gas to the water heater tank. Shut off the main water valve to the house to prevent possible contamination. Open a hot water faucet to vent the water heater tank and allow water to flow through the valve at the base of the tank. Drain water into plastic containers.

How do I know my water is supplied by the Fairfax County Water Authority?
The Fairfax County Water Authority supplies water for various localities in addition to Fairfax County. Please check your water bill to verify that the Water Authority supplies water for your location.

Who do I contact for more information?
For more information, please contact the Water Authority at 703-698-5800, 703-698-5613 (after hours emergency), TTY 703-698-7025.

For other emergency information, call the Fairfax County Government Emergency Information Line at 703-817-7771, TTY 711.

 

FAIRFAX COUNTY IS COMMITTED TO A POLICY OF NONDISCRIMINATION IN ALL COUNTY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES AND WILL PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UPON REQUEST. TO REQUEST SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, CALL 703-324-3187 OR TTY-703-324-2935. PLEASE ALLOW FIVE WORKING DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENTS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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