The first round of tests in the respective jurisdictions showed no contaminants, said Katie O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the Arlington Department of Environmental Services, and D.C. Water spokesman Vincent Morris.
But both jurisdictions are conducting a second day of testing to ensure the water is free of bacteria, they said. Glebe Road, where the water main ruptured, should reopen by Sunday afternoon, O’Brien said.
Until then, Arlington officials suggested that residents boil water for three minutes before drinking it. They noted that filtered tap water also should be boiled, as most household water filters don’t remove bacteria or viruses.
Many residents spent a cold Saturday morning stocking up on bottled water and searching — often without much luck — for coffee. Some businesses posted signs in their windows, warning customers of the impact of the rupture.
“Out of an abundance of caution we will not be serving handcrafted beverages at this time,” read the sign in a mostly empty Starbucks in Court House, where employees apologetically turned away a steady stream of customers who had missed the sign.
“This sucks,” one man muttered to his friend as they left. “Is anyone serving coffee?” a woman in line behind him asked the cashier, who suggested she try nearby Chelsea Market and Deli.
But there was only hot chocolate to be found there. Manager Sean King said they decided to stop serving coffee Friday after hearing about the rupture, which he said has led to an uptick in business.
“When people learned they couldn't cook, they started buying more food,” he said. “Then when they realized it was going to last the weekend, they started buying even more food — and beer.”
At a Starbucks in Clarendon half a mile away, the best option for caffeine seekers was cold brew — which store manager Erwin Hernandez said was safe to drink because it had been brewed before Friday.
About every ten minutes, a customer called wanting to know whether they were serving coffee, Hernandez said, adding that some calls were getting a little nasty. But he said he had encouraged employees to be patient.
Hernandez taped up a handmade sign Saturday morning explaining the situation and replaced gallon jugs of water in the bathrooms for hand-washing. Shortly after he replaced the jugs, his phone rang: another coffee question.
“We can do cold brew,” he explained. “No, I’m sorry, no hot coffee.”
At the CVS in Court House, a rush for water Friday had left the store sold out of gallon water jugs and large cases of water, store manager Salma Akhtar said. She said she would like to order more water, but she isn’t able to place new orders over the weekend.
Standing in front of the barren water shelves in CVS, Ken and Vanessa Opalo said they were in transit from Florida when they received an email from their Court House apartment building about the boil-water advisory. When they returned to their apartment late Friday, they had to make do with sparkling water and a bit of water left in their Brita filter, they said.
“They told us it won’t last long, so we’re not thinking about getting in a water-boiling regimen yet,” he said, carrying four large SmartWater bottles.
“We might go to Trader Joe’s next,” she added, looking at the barren shelves. “This is expensive.”
David Guas, the chef and owner at Bayou Bakery, said he spent Friday night with his staff boiling “massive amounts of water” for between 10 and 15 minutes — just to be extra careful. He called the local technician at Counter Culture, which supplies their coffee, who assured him that the coffee was safe to drink because the water towers hold water at 210 degrees for more than 20 minutes before it is brewed. And Guas woke up this morning at 6 a.m. to buy 18 fresh bags of ice.
The line in Bayou stretched from the cash register to the door by 10 a.m.
“I don’t know how they’re doing it, but I almost don’t want to know,” Clarendon resident Joe Testa said as he walked into Bayou with his family. The day before, he had gotten enough bottled water to last through Saturday. But he said the shelves had been picked over, and he was guessing they would have to drive further for the next water run.
For now, though, they were just looking forward to breakfast — especially the scones and biscuits with bacon — and coffee.