77°Fog

Chlorine Spike for some in NW, Don’t Drink the Water!

by Prince Of Petworth April 20, 2010 at 9:48 am 22 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user J Y W

From a WASA email:

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA) is advising customers in a specific area of Northwest not to use water until further notice because of a higher-than-normal chlorine concentration.

The boundaries of the area in question are indicated below.

West Boundary: MacArthur Boulevard, NW

North Boundary: Western Avenue and Eastern Avenue, NW

East Boundary: Amtrak railroad

South Boundary (east side of Rock Creek): Upshur Street, NW

South Boundary (west side of Rock Creek): Calvert Street to Observatory Circle to W Street

The spike happened early this morning at DC WASA’s unmanned Fort Reno facility when it was offline for routine maintenance disinfection. At 7:30 this morning, operators at the DC WASA Bryant Street Pump Station identified a drop in the reservoir at Fort Reno, which indicated the possibility of a chlorine spike. DC WASA immediately dispatched staff to confirm a higher-than-normal chlorine concentration in the water, which they determined had happened at approximately 5 a.m.

Customers who used water with excess chlorine may have noticed taste and odor problems. While unlikely, the chlorine may also cause a reaction in individuals with sensitive skin. Anyone who observes such a reaction should contact a physician.

DC WASA notified the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region III immediately upon learning of the chlorine spike. Water-quality crews are monitoring the system across the entire affected area and will advise the public when the water supply has returned to normal. Our staff is also assessing the causes of the problem.

Customers with questions should call the DC WASA 24-hour Emergency Center at 202-612-3400.

  • Wonderful…

  • andy(2)

    So – no showers…?
    I can’t wait for May to roll around and they stop chlorinating the water.

  • anon

    “some” in NW. That is a LOT of NW. When is this chlorine crap gonna end anyway? My water has smelled like shit for 2 months now.

    • mike

      Seriously, this is good chunk of NW. Western boundary: MacArthur Blvd? OK, so about as far west as you can go! Northern boundary: Western/Eastern aves? As far north as you can go. Eastern boundary: Amtrak, so, beyond NW and into NE.
      And the only way I hear of this is from this website

  • Chris

    What exactly do they mean by “don’t use water”? Don’t use it at all? Is it safe to drink if filtered?

    Typical stupid f*cking DC. This makes me livid.

  • PW neighbor

    We’ve had this problem, it gives my Shepherd the runs- yuck! You won’t die from it, but you might not feel well.

  • Anonymous

    My shower reeks all the time and our water gives us rashes. Fuck DC’s water.

  • Prince Of Petworth
  • Can I boil it for food prep, shower, boil then drink?

  • tasted strange in columbia heights last night

  • Anonymous

    Boiling won’t remove chlorine, so that won’t help. I do believe a Brita will do too much either, although I’m not sure

  • Anonymous

    I don’t* believe a Brita will help

  • Anonymous

    A brita filter will remove the Chlorine. Also, if you just let it sit in a open pitcher the Chlorine will evaporate off. I’d recommend using a filter or evaporation before cooking, watering plants or giving the water to your animals to drink (or drinking it yourself). Can’t help with the showering.

  • super_b

    I wonder how these higher levels of chlorine affect non-microbial plant life, like houseplants? Can I put a rainwater barrel on my roof and use it for the shower? Just kidding.

  • Anonymous

    I think a Brita will remove some, it’s just a matter of whether it will have enough of an effect. Evaporation will definitely not do anything. The water will evaporate and the chlorine will not. Chlorine reacts with water to form an equilibrium of hypochloric acid and hypochlorous acid. Trying to boil or evaporate out the water is equivalent to trying to boil the salt out of seawater. You can get it out, but only by condensing and collecting the vapor, which is a ridiculous thing to do in this case.

  • Anonymous
    • Prince Of Petworth

      I saw on twitter they just reduced the boundaries but I haven’t received an updated press release by email yet.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        Updated boundaries:

        * West Boundary: Western Avenue, NW
        * North Boundary: River Road, NW
        * East Boundary: Connecticut Avenue, NW
        * South Boundary Nebraska Avenue, NW

  • Anonymous

    Aquafina!

  • Prince Of Petworth

    As of 4pm the water is now safe to drink!

  • Thanks for your patience with us today, PoP readers!

    The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA) has cancelled the advisory from this morning for some neighborhoods in Northwest to not use the water. The advisory has been lifted for all neighborhoods in the affected area. DC WASA conducted comprehensive testing of the water system during the past several hours and results have confirmed the water is now safe for drinking, bathing, cooking and cleaning.

    (For more information, including a map of the affected area, please visit http://www.dcwasa.com/news/listings/press_release445.cfm)

    The advisory was issued because of a higher-than-normal chlorine concentration. The spike happened early this morning at DC WASA’s unmanned Fort Reno facility when it was offline for routine maintenance disinfection. At 7:30 a.m., operators at the DC WASA Bryant Street Pump Station identified a drop in the reservoir at Fort Reno, which indicated the possibility of a chlorine spike. DC WASA immediately dispatched staff to confirm a higher-than-normal chlorine concentration in the water, which they determined had happened at approximately 5 a.m.

    As an added precaution, DC WASA recommends discarding any food or ice that was prepared with water between 5:00 am and 2:30 pm today. This includes infant formula. In addition, any faucets or taps that have not been used during the water advisory should be flushed for 10 minutes.

    Please share this information with anyone who drinks the water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

    Customers with questions about their water should call the DC WASA Water Quality Division at 202-612-3440 (Mon-Fri, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm). Media and others who would like to learn more about this announcement should contact DC WASA Office of Public Affairs at 202-787-2200. DC WASA can be reached 24 hours a day at 202-612-3400.

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