Tampa residents told to disinfect tap water following broken water main

 Water main is essentially ‘ground zero for the entire city’s water treatment’, mayor says

Louise Hall
Wednesday 09 December 2020 16:09
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Tampa water main break prompts widespread boil-water notice

Residents in Tampa, Florida are being ordered to disinfect their tap water until further notice by boiling or using water purifying tablets, following a water main break at the city's primary treatment plant.

The city was placed under a Boil Water Notice after a third party work crew hit a transmission water main at the David L Tippin Water Treatment Facility on Monday.

Officials said that a burst main can result in lower pressure and possible contamination of the drinking water which might allow pathogens that can cause illness.

Mayor Jane Castor said at a press conference on Tuesday that the water main is essentially “ground zero for the entire city’s water treatment”, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

The mayor said it is unlikely there is any contamination in the water supply but the Boil Water Notice is in effect as a precautionary measure until the water can be effectively tested.

As a result, residents were urged to disinfect tap water to kill any bacteria or viruses by either boiling the water or using purification tablets as a disinfectant.

A view of the break from SkyFOX showed water gushing from a worksite near the treatment facility, flowing into the surrounding streets and neighborhood.

“The break was draining all of our water and we were getting to the point that, had they not been able to reroute as quickly as they did, we literally would have run out of water for the city last night,” Ms Castor said, according to The Times.

“They had about one foot left in those tanks before they weren’t able to pump any more water out.”

Crews continued to work on the control and repair of the break throughout the night into Tuesday morning but the Boil Water Notice still remains in place as of Wednesday.

“The precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect for several days while bacteria tests are conducted to assure the safety of the water,” the government’s website says, while also issuing advice on how to purify water.

In the meantime, the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department is distributing free water and facemasks to residents and businesses in the city and has since lifted a prior notice banning irrigation across the area.

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