The advisory had been in effect since a large water main ruptured Friday in North Arlington. Officials in Northern Virginia and the District swiftly stabilized the break, but kept the advisory in place until Sunday as they conducted tests to confirm the water had not been contaminated.
“A series of rigorous test have determined that the system is safe … tests identified no potentially threatening bacteria in the system as a result of the break,” Arlington officials wrote in the statement. “The incident also affected portions of the Arlington-linked D.C. Water system, which has also been deemed safe following tests."
In a separate statement posted to its website, D.C. Water confirmed that testing determined “drinking water meets all water quality safety standards.”
Vincent Morris, a spokesman for D.C. Water, said in an interview Sunday that the District conducted two rounds of tests: one on Friday and one Saturday. Because both rounds revealed no evidence of contamination, officials lifted the water advisory per Environmental Protection Agency regulations, Morris said.
“It’s fairly standard protocol,” Morris said. “All of our tests of water quality came back negative, so we feel pretty good about it."
The trouble began when a 36-inch water transmission pipe ruptured around 4 a.m. Friday on Glebe Road near Chain Bridge, closing schools and snarling morning commutes. It is unclear what caused the break, according to Katie O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the Arlington Department of Environmental Services.
Officials restored service later that morning and traffic eventually dissipated, but thousands of customers in Arlington and parts of upper Northwest Washington were left with water of uncertain quality.
For the duration of the advisory, authorities instructed residents in the affected areas to boil all water — including home-filtered tap water — for three minutes before drinking it. Businesses also took a hit: Possible safety concerns forced coffee shops in the are to stop serving coffee, prompting complaints from some caffeine seekers.
Still, the advisory was a boon to at least a few stores, leaving places such as the Court House CVS sold out of water and gallon jugs.
Others probably ignored the water-boil advisory, Morris said.
“A lot of residents, even with the advisory, have been using” water without boiling it, Morris said. “I hope not many — but again, we give this advice just to be cautious, and if people don’t follow it there’s not much we can do.”
Luckily for those residents, the absence of contamination revealed during testing means those who drank non-boiled water are probably going to be perfectly fine, according to Morris.
“But we always tell people: if you feel sick, you should consult a doctor,” he said. “So definitely do that.”