TAMPA, Fla. — The boil water notice for residents in the city of Tampa, along with some Hillsborough County residents, will last until at least Thursday following a water main break on Monday.
The notice continued into Tuesday, as crews worked through the night. The city said work is expected to be completed sometime Tuesday. However, samples will need to be taken of the water, which then must be cleared by the health department, then the process must be repeated before they get the all-clear.
To make sure everyone is safe, the precautionary boil water notice will last another 48-72 hours from Tuesday morning, Mayor Castor said. Out of an abundance of caution, the notice will likely last until at least Thursday morning.
The Tampa Water Department said the water main break occurred outside their David L. Tippin Water Treatment Facility.
Mayor Castor said this particular water treatment plant was ground zero for water treatment, which is why it impacted the whole city. Had crews not rerouted the water so quickly, the city literally would have run out of water.
Now the mayor is calling on citizens to conserve water where they can so the reserves can be restocked.
The boil water notice was initially put into effect by the Tampa Water Department for city of Tampa residents. Later, The Hillsborough County Water Resources Department issued the notice for residents in Eastlake, Fairview, Herschel Heights, Pebble Creek, Palm River, and Seaboard.
They said a sub-contractor working nearby hit one of their transmissions, which was causing lower water pressure in the area.
Crews worked to stabilize the water pressure so they could fix the transmission.
The construction is part of a $300 million water quality improvement project, according to Brad Baird with the City of Tampa.
"This certainly isn’t a desired scenario you want to happen on any project," said Baird.
Shortly after 7 p.m., the Tampa Water Department said they "isolated the water main and shut down the flow of water in the area," and they were were "in the process of pumping out the excess water so we can begin repairs."
Gushing water flooded North 30th Street and Howell Street near the water treatment plant.
"It came all the way up to the driveway, I was about to panic because I’m like the water started rising but by the grace of God it didn’t," said Waymon Hunter.
Despite knee-deep water through the intersection, Monday's flooding did not enter any houses.
“It’s the season to be thankful for everything," said Hunter. "The good and the bad. That’s how I live every day. God is good."
The boil water notice is impacting hospitals in the Tampa Bay area.
"In order to ensure the safety of our patients and team members during the citywide water outage, AdventHealth Tampa leaders have activated emergency management teams and are following preparedness protocols at this time. To maintain the highest quality of care for patients, we are distributing bottled water and flushable water to all departments. We are also implementing necessary triage measures for emergency cases to prevent any impacts on patient care." — AdventHealth Tampa
"During this city wide boil water notice we are working with the state to have water delivered to our campus to meet operational needs. We are also making arrangements to deliver bottled water to all medical units for the next 24 – 48 hours.
To minimize any risk of contamination, Tampa General is not allowing patients to bathe, drink or use the city water in any way. Patients will be supplied bottled water for their hydration needs for the duration of this boil water notice." — Tampa General Hospital
The notice has also caused Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to make the decision to close the park on Tuesday, December 8.
The Tampa Water Department also issued a citywide ban on irrigation watering. The ban was rescinded on Tuesday morning.
At this time, residents are advised to take the following precautions to disinfect tap water to kill any bacteria or viruses that may have entered the water:
- Bring the water to a rolling boil and holding it there for one minute.
- Aerate the boiled water by pouring it from one container to another several times to improve the "flat" taste left by boiling, then refrigerate for best results.
- Use bleach if you cannot boil your water.
- Add eight drops (about 1/8th teaspoon) of bleach for one gallon of tap water, shake, then let stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
- Use food grade containers and unscented common household bleach that has 5% to 6% active ingredients.
- If the water is cloudy, use16 drops, about teaspoon of bleach instead of 8. There should be a slight chlorine odor.
- Use water purification tables or iodine that many sports and camping stores sell.
For more information about what to do when a precautionary boil water notice has been issued, please view: https://www.tampa.gov/water/water-quality/precautionary-boil-water-notices