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DC Water Collecting and Testing Water Samples After Issuing a Boil Water Advisory

January 20, 2024

This morning, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) collected a second round of water samples from seven locations in the areas of Northwest and Northeast D.C. currently under a boil water advisory. These samples will be analyzed at DC Water’s laboratory. Test results should be available Sunday morning. The first round of samples collected Friday evening is currently being processed and will be analyzed tonight. Following two consecutive days of clear samples, DC Water will lift the current boil water advisory, which we expect will be on Sunday.

DC Water issued the Boil Water Advisory after a temporary loss of pressure on Friday, January 19, 2024. 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. Do not drink the water without first filtering the water (if a source of lead is present) and second boiling it.

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 outside this area can continue normal water use.

The impacted neighborhoods include Colonial Village, Shepherd Park, North Portal Estates, Walter Reed, Takoma, Brightwood, Manor Park, Lamond Riggs, Queens Chapel, Fort Totten, Pleasant Hill, Brightwood Park, Crestwood, Petworth, Rock Creek Park, Hawthorne, Barnaby Woods, Chevy Chase, North Cleveland Park, Forest Hills, Van Ness, Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Massachusetts Avenue Heights, and Woodland-Normanstone Terrace.

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

  • Discard any beverages and ice made after 11 a.m. on Friday, January 19, 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 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.

Filtered (if possible), 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 January 19, 2024, DC Water received a number of calls from customers in Northwest DC 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 4:15 p.m. Friday, we restored system pressure in the impacted area and have begun testing as described below. Crews are still investigating the cause of the pressure loss.

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 could have resulted in a high potential that fecal contamination or other disease-causing organisms could enter the distribution system. These conditions may 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 issue this advisory as a precaution while we test the water.  DC Water flushed the water system in the impacted area and collected the first round of samples and anticipate getting those results today by 6 p.m. 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 Sunday, January 21 at the earliest.

Please share this information with all the 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.