LaShonda from Mississippi asked…
Recently our community had some problems with several water mains and we lost water for a while. The water came back on but we have not heard from the health dept that we can use the water without boiling it first, etc. Should we wait for the health department to tell things are OK or can we use the water now since the pressure is back up?
You have asked a very good question, LaShonda.
While the fact that your water pressure has come back up does mean that your local water company has made progress in repairing the water mains, it does NOT guarantee that you can safely drink the water coming out of your faucet.
Whenever a water main breaks, develops a leak, or requires some form of maintenance that could allow the introduction of outside elements (air, dirt, sand, environmental water, etc.) into the water line, the line must undergo a period of purging before health officials will consider the water safe for consumption.
During that period of water line flushing the water department monitors the quality of the water with rigorous testing. The water MUST pass all testing before the water department will announce to the media outlets (newspaper, television, radio, etc.) that people can resume normal usage of the water safely.
If you have any questions about the safety of your water after learning of a ‘boil water order’ or warning not to use your tap water until further notice, WAIT FOR THE NOTICE.
Do not assume that the return of water pressure to your faucet means you have safe water. In the event you have any questions or doubts, pick up the phone and call your local water department for the latest update on your particular water quality situation.
Emergency Water Filtration and/or Purification: