Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Maricopa County: Safety Measures for the Boil Water Advisory

Jan. 25, 2005 Maricopa County Departments of Environmental Services and Public Health advise all water customers served by the city of Phoenix to boil water used for consumption and take necessary precautions until further notice. The Boil Water Advisory was issued this morning by city of Phoenix officials due to the detection of high sediment levels, known as turbidity, found to be entering the water supply at some city of Phoenix water treatment plants. This precautionary health advisory is extended to all city of Phoenix water customers, including residents in Phoenix, Tolleson and other areas served by the city of Phoenix water supply. Be advised that water needs to be at a boil for at least 5 minutes before being used in the following situations: * Drinking water * Washing dishes * Brushing teeth * Food preparation * Making ice * Wound care The Boil Water Advisory affects the health and safety of all eating and drinking establishments including retail groceries operations, restaurants, schools, daycare centers, hospitals, senior care facilities, etc. Food establishments need to follow special standards to remain in operation. Please visit www.maricopa.gov/envsvc for a list of the required items. Schools and day care centers should prevent children and staff from consuming water from water fountains. If bottled water is unavailable, necessary actions should be taken to prevent children from dehydrating, particularly after any physical activities. "If an establishment is not capable of meeting these health and safety standards, they must remain closed until the Boiled Water Advisory is lifted by Maricopa County Environmental Services," said Al Brown, Maricopa County Environmental Services Director. Additionally, residents affected by this current water safety situation are encouraged to follow a water conservation plan as recommended by city of Phoenix and Maricopa County officials. This may include limiting bathing or showering, washing cars, and watering lawns and plants until further notice. High sediment or turbidity levels interfere with the disinfection process and provide a growing medium for microbial growth. "Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms, but it is important to know that water may still look fairly normal," Brown said. "Therefore it is essential that residents follow proper water and sanitation precautions, until notified by County Environmental Health officials that the safety of the water has been assured." "This has the potential to be a serious public health issue, but we're taking all necessary precautions to prevent disease in the county," said Dr. Doug Campos-Outcalt, Medical Director for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. "The role of the Department of Public Health in such situations is to advise residents of potential threats to their health, to advise them of appropriate precautions to take to protect their health and safety, and to communicate to them when the health threat is over." The MCDPH is working with the community and is notifying health care providers and facilities to watch for patients with gastrointestinal disease symptoms. Residents who may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain should consult a health care provider as disease symptoms could occur from 1 to 12 days after disease exposure. Please be aware that this Boil Water Advisory will be in effect until lifted by the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department. For more information, private citizens may call the city of Phoenix Water Department customer service line: (602) 262-6251. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has the following link for emergency disinfection of drinking water: http://water.azdeq.gov/envion/water/dw/download/desinfec.pdf

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