Customers of Asheville’s water system will soon see an increase in the number of “boil water advisories” issued by Asheville’s Water Resources Department, says city spokesperson Polly McDaniel, but that doesn’t mean the system is less safe than before. In fact, the new advisories represent an attempt to make customers even safer.
To comply with North Carolina Public Water Supply expectations, McDaniel says, the city will now issue advisories whenever work on the system causes pressure in the water lines to drop below a certain level. When that happens, the city will conduct additional testing of the water in the affected area. Replacing a pipe or making an emergency repair are among the reasons that the water pressure might drop, McDaniel explains. Even though the city will issue an advisory, the water is not necessarily unsafe to drink. Because tests take a minimum of 24 hours to complete, the advisories represent a precautionary measure to alert customers that testing is being performed.
A media release from the city says, “A boil water advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but that the possibility exists.”
The Water Resources Department tests the city’s water three times every day at all three of the system’s water treatment plants, McDaniel says. The new testing will be in addition to those measures.
While a boil water advisory indicates that there is a possibility of water contamination, a “boil water notice” indicates that contamination has been detected.
During either type of notification, a notice or an advisory, the Water Resources Department offers the following guidelines for steps customers should take if their home or business is located in the affected area:
- Boil tap water vigorously for a least one minute before using it for drinking, cooking or any consumption. This includes water used for dental care, making ice, food preparation or any other consumption purposes.
- It is not necessary to boil water for showering, laundry or other non-consumptive uses.
- Continue boiling water intended for consumption purposes until the advisory is lifted. Advisories can last from 24 hours to several days.
The city recommends that water customers sign up for Citizen Alerts on the City of Asheville website. The link is located on the main page. By signing up, customers will be notified via text, email and telephone (home or cell).
The new advisory program went into effect on Jan. 9. Additional information is available here.
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