Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What the f#@%...

What do I do about the water I drank and cooked with yesterday?
PHOENIX- The 1.4 million residents of Phoenix were encouraged Tuesday to boil their tap water until at least noon Wednesday, and also to limit what water they do use. City officials blamed a turbidity problem they discovered during testing Monday night: Muddy water due to recent storms was flowing into one of the city's two operating water treatment plants, reducing the output of that plant. Two other water treatment plants are shut down due to routine maintenance, another is off line because of water damage, leaving only one of the city's five water treatment plants producing water at full capacity.
Good to know that we can get by on one of five... but I now have doubts about Phoenix being the best run city in the country (remember the 90's).
None of the other Valley cities is affected.
Howdy neighbor, do you mind if I borrow some water for cooking and brushing my teeth? You would think the systems would be interconnected so they could back each other up in times of crisis... like now!
City officials say they have been testing the water supply throughout the night and will continue to do so throughout the day. Federal guideline require that the city's water have no more than one part - or particle- per billion, City Manager Frank Fairbanks said. Monday night, a safety valve notified officials that the water coming from the Val Vista treatment plant contained 2.1 parts per billion. It's more than double the federal safety guideline, but it still so minute that the water will likely not even appear cloudy to the naked eye, officials said. There was a reported run on bottled water at grocery stores in pockets of Phoenix. And school districts across the city are reducing or eliminating P.E. classes and recess, as well as shutting down cafeterias to reduce the need and use of water.
Surprise, a run on bottled water... who would have expected that!
"We're going for a more sedentary lifestyle," said Nedda Shafir, a spokeswoman for Washington Elementary School District. She said the district schools have taken other steps to reduce water use, including shutting down water fountains, using rinse sanitizers and bringing in catered food. Besides boiling water for drinking, Phoenix residents were told to take short showers and shut off landscape watering. Bottled water was to be used for drinking, brushing teeth, making ice, food preparation and washing dishes.
Would I be ok if I brush with liquor? Perhaps I'll make gin rice for dinner and brush after with a nice burbon!
Ken Kroski, a spokesman for the Phoenix Water Services Department, said turbidity has no health effects. However, it could interfere with water disinfection, provide a medium for bacterial growth, and indicate a presence of disease-causing organisms, he said. City officials say that the water is not dangerous - and are merely recommending that it be boiled for precautionary reasons. "Phoenix takes the safety of its residents as its utmost priority," Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said. "We are taking extra precautions because of all the sediments that came into the system because of the storm." So far, tests have turned up no bacteria or microbes or anything else that could be considered dangerous to residents. Nonetheless, officials say that residents should not use tap water to prepare foods, brush their teeth or in cold drinks. They are also asking that homeowners not water their lawns, do their laundry and limit their shower times.
Will my dishwasher take bottled water? I guess I can let it dry the dishes and that will be hot enough to kill anything.
City Manager Fairbanks asked that residents be patient, and not panic. "The water department tests for 103 different items," Fairbanks said. "We have passed 102 of those tests. The one we failed was for particles." "The water is not poisonous, and frankly, it's very unlikely that anyone would get sick," said Fairbanks, adding that he had had two big glasses of tap water this morning and was "not concerned for his health."
I'll bet he lives in Scottsdale or Mesa!
Nonetheless, city officials are asking that all schools turn off their water fountains, or post signs warning students not to drink from them. Similar precautions were taken at Phoenix City Hall, where fountains were covered with tape and signs that said, "Do Not Use Tap Water. Do not Drink It or Use It for Coffee, Tea, etc."

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