DRINKING WATER ADVISORY: DC Water Issues Boil Water Advisory for Customers in Some District Neighborhoods

May 08, 2024
Map of the Impacted Area

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) issued a Boil Water Advisory today for some customers that are or have had loss of water pressure following a break in a 20” water main in Upper Northwest D.C. on Wednesday, May 8. The impact is affecting 4,800 customers (see map below). This is a precautionary notice to customers in the impacted area to boil water that may be ingested due to water of unknown quality in this localized area of the system. Customer should not drink the water without boiling it first. This advisory will remain in place until follow-up testing confirms the water is safe to drink.

DC Water advises customers to search their address on the interactive map at dcwater.com or call the 24-Hour Command Center at (202) 612-3400 to determine if they are in the impact area of this advisory. Customers in the impacted area should boil water used for drinking and cooking. Customers outside this area can continue normal water use.

The impacted neighborhoods include Upper Chevy Chase, Ft. Reno, American University, Spring Valley, Friendship Heights, Westover Place, Wakefield, North Cleveland Park, Palisades, Wesley Heights, Foxhall Crescent, Foxhall Village, Hawthorne, Barnaby Woods, and Chevy Chase.  

Customers in the impact area should follow this guidance at this time:

  • Discard any beverages and ice made after 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
  • Run cold water until clear (if discolored) prior to boiling.
  • Run cold water for 2 minutes if known sources of lead are present prior to boiling; if possible, first filter the water using a NSF/ANSI Standard 53 lead-certified and 42 for particle reduction filter, and second boil it. 
  • Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute and let it cool. 
  • Store cooled water in a clean, covered container.

Cooled, boiled water or bottled water should be used for:

  • Drinking
  • Brushing teeth
  • Preparing and cooking food
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Preparing infant formula
  • Making ice 
  • Giving water to pets

*Do not use home filtering devices in place of boiled or bottled water.

What happened (Background)

On the afternoon of May 8, 2024, a broken 20” water main affected system pressure. We received a number of calls from customers in the 4th high pressure zone, in upper Northwest, who were experiencing low or no water pressure. DC Water assessed the system and confirmed low pressure at multiple locations within the impacted area. As of 11:30 am, we restored system pressure in most of the impacted areas, except for a small area near the break, and have begun testing as described below. 

Due to the loss of pressure in the distribution system, this may have caused backpressure, backsiphonage, or a net movement of water from outside the pipe to the inside through cracks, breaks, or joints in the distribution system that are common in all water systems. Pressure loss can allow contaminants to enter the distribution system. These conditions could pose an imminent and substantial health endangerment to persons served by the system.

Bacteria and other disease-causing contamination such as viruses and parasites can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems.

The symptoms above are not only caused by microbes in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

We have no information that the water was contaminated by this incident, but we issue this advisory as a precaution while we test the water.  DC Water will collect samples in the impacted area. The advisory will be lifted when tests on two consecutive days show no bacteria are present and all customers can continue normal water use, which we anticipate will be on Friday, May 10 at the earliest.

Please share this information with all other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

Customers with water quality questions should contact the Department of Water Quality at (202) 612-3440 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). All other questions should be directed to DC Water Customer Service at (202) 354-3600 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), the 24-Hour Command Center at 202-612-3400 or the Office of Marketing and Communications at (202) 787-2200 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Information is also available at www.dcwater.com and Bilingual FAQs are provided at www.dcwater.com/boilwaterFAQ.

Este aviso y más información están también disponibles en www.dcwater.com y preguntas frecuentes bilingües se encuentran en www.dcwater.com/boilwaterFAQ

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