Around 4 pm on Saturday, May 14, 2016 a vehicle ran into a fire hydrant near the Gualala Community Center. Operators were on the scene quickly to stop the water flow. Customers in the coastal downtown area of Gualala may have noticed a lack of water or pressure while it was dealt with.
The water company has protocols in place for situations such as this. In this case, the state Division of Drinking Water advised the water company operators to order a boil water notice for all affected customers.
Who is affected?
Only customers in pressure zone 2 were potentially affected. These customers have a “2” as the second-to-last digit in their 8-digit account number. For example: 11111121 is affected but 11111131 is not.
How were affected customers notified?
Automated phone calls were sent out to all affected customers with the following information. Customers who could not be reached by telephone had notices posted on their houses.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
BOIL WATER NOTICE
BOIL YOUR WATER BEFORE USING
Failure to follow this advisory could result in stomach or intestinal illness.
Due to the recent fire hydrant break, the state Division of Drinking Water in conjunction with North Gualala Water Company are advising affected residents to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precaution.
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. This is the preferred method to assure that the water is safe to drink.
- An alternative method of disinfection for residents that are not able to boil their water is to use fresh, unscented, liquid household bleach. To do so, add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before using. A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this disinfection procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place.
- Water disinfection tablets may also be used by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
North Gualala Water Company will inform you when tests show that water is safe to drink and you no longer need to boil your water. We anticipate resolving the problem within 4 days.
What is the potential risk?
We cannot quantify the risk, but it is expected to be very low. Health and safety of our customers is our top priority. Under direction of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water (one of the water company’s many governing bodies), the boil water notice was put into place to ensure that no one becomes ill if the water line had become compromised during the hydrant break.
When can I stop boiling my water?
Affected customers will be notified again when the boil water notice has been lifted. Bacteriological samples must be clear for 2 consecutive days before it can be lifted.
What water do I have to boil?
Water for consumption should be boiled. That includes water for cooking, brushing teeth, and drinking.
What can I do instead of boiling my water?
Customers may opt to disinfect their tap water with bleach (see above for the method) or water disinfection tablets according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Bottled water may also be used.
I use a Brita water filter at home. Isn’t that good enough?
North Gualala Water Company does not certify or sell any type of water filtration system so it cannot offer advice or opinions about the efficacy of these types of filters. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.
What is the water company doing to make sure my water is safe to consume?
The water company operators immediately increased the chlorine level a prescribed amount for a short time to deliver more sanitizing power to the water in the line. Calls were made about the boil water order and notices were posted on houses of those who could not be reached by telephone. Additional bacteriological testing will be conducted as prescribed by the state, beyond the company’s regular on-going testing regime.
I want to talk to someone at the state about this. Who can I call?
The office of emergency service can be reached at 1-800-852-7550, 24 hours a day.
What can I do to help?
Follow the boil water guidance in your home. Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water in your immediate area, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, vacation rentals in your neighborhood).