Wednesday, March 07, 2018

What to do when there is a water main break

By Ridofranz, courtesy iStockphoto
A huge water main break occurred in Atlanta this week that left many residents with very little water.  Neighborhoods and major highways were flooded, and officials issued a boil water notice for everyone who uses the county water system. Children were sent home from school and businesses shut down — including Emory University, the Dekalb County Board of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campuses.

Water main breaks can happen any time and without notice. Which may leave you wondering what to do if this happened in your community.
  • First, it’s important that you are signed up for emergency alerts for your community. You don’t want to find out that you’re not supposed to be drinking water after finishing off a big glass. Updates are happening every minute and you wouldn’t want to miss them.
  • Don’t start using the water again until you have heard the all-clear from a community official. That’s because water can be contaminated with harmful bacteria and other substances that can make you sick.
  • Boil your water if told to. To correctly boil your water, bring your tap water to a rolling boil for one minute and then set it aside to cool down.
  • Watch out for flooding. The water main break in Atlanta caused major flooding, reaching cars and buildings. Remember to stay away from flooded areas. If you are driving and encounter a flood, turn around. It is extremely important that you never drive through flood water.
  • Create a water stockpile. Every U.S. home should have a three-day supply of water stored, with one gallon of water per person per day. This water will come in handy when you need to flush the toilet, wash the dishes, brush your teeth, wash your hands and feed your pets.
If a water main break can disrupt activities at CDC — our nation’s leading public health and preparedness agency — imagine the problems it can create for unsuspecting families and businesses.

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