D.C. Water is warning residents in parts of Northeast and Northwest Washington not to drink water from the tap because of a problem at a pumping station.
The problem has been fixed, but about 34,000 residences and businesses in the affected areas were advised to boil their water before drinking it until further notice.
In the meantime, here are some guidelines:
1. Is it safe to bathe in the water?
Yes, D.C. Water officials said. The water is safe to use in the bathtub or shower. Just don’t ingest it.
2. Can I brush my teeth with tap water?
No. Boil it first or use bottled water.
3. Will using filters make the water safe?
No. Boil the water first.
D.C. Water said customers should use “cooled, boiled water or bottled water” for drinking, brushing your teeth, preparing and cooking food, making ice and preparing infant formula, as well as for pets.
It’s also advised that fruits and vegetables be washed with cooled, boiled water.
4. How long will this water advisory be in effect?
The advisory is expected to last at least a day or two. D.C. Water officials said they need to sample and test the water to see whether a contaminant got into it. As of Friday at press time, they did not know.
5. Is it safe to drink coffee that’s been brewed in a pot?
It’s best to boil the water before putting it in a coffee pot, D.C. Water officials said. The water temperatures in certain coffee pots may not reach boiling levels.
6. If I drank the water or gave it to my children, what should I do?
D.C. Water said most people who drink the water will not get sick. If you are concerned about your health or your family’s, contact your doctor or health-care provider, experts said.
7. What would be the symptoms if I did drink the water and there’s a contaminant?
In Twitter messages, D.C. Water said most people won’t get sick. If you do, the symptoms are like those of food poisoning and include cramps, diarrhea, nausea and possibly a mild fever. You should seek medical attention to be sure.
8. Can I use my icemaker?
You should dump out ice that has been made since Thursday evening.
9. Is it safe to use the dishwasher?
Dishwashers are safe to use if the water hits a temperature of at last 160 degrees or if the dishwasher has a cycle to sanitize, according to D.C. Water.
10. What about my household plants and garden?
Tap water is fine for gardens and household plants.
11. What about doing laundry?
Yes, it is safe to wash your clothes.