TRENTON — Several New Jersey municipalities have issued boil water advisories to ensure the public health and safety of state residents as a result of the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said state, county and local officials are monitoring water quality carefully. Listen to and follow public announcements that will advise residents if and when water is safe to drink or use.
Twelve municipalities/water companies had instituted boil water advisories for all or parts of their communities as of Wednesday evening:
· Atlantic City MUA
- New Brunswick Water Department
- Independence MUA – Highland System, Warren County
- Bayview Water System, Fortesque, Downe Township, Cumberland County
- Ship Bottom, Ocean County
- Stafford Township MUA, Cedar Bonnet Island, Ocean County
- United Water Sunset Ridge, Vernon Township, Sussex County
- United Water Highlands Lakes, Vernon Township
- United Water Predmore, Vernon Township
- United Water Sammis, Vernon Township
- United Water Woodridge Wantage, Sussex County
- Brant Beach, Ocean County
Additional information about specific boil water advisories is available at http://readynj.posterous.com/
In case of water quality issues, water companies advise customers of the situation and detail what steps they should take. Residents who are unsure of the water system’s situation in their community should check the web site of their water company or phone their offices.
“Disruptions to water supply treatment due to power outages and flooding can lead to serious health issues,” said Commissioner O’Dowd. “It’s important that our residents continue to stay informed so they can take measures to protect themselves and their families.”
Boil water orders include disruptions to water supply treatment or delivery due to power outages and flooding caused by the storm. Additionally, damage to roadways throughout may be delaying transportation of supplies that may be needed to sustain operations.
New Jersey residents who are unsure of their water supply – from either a municipal water system or personal well – should use bottled water or boil potable water before use.
If there is evidence of a water supply problem, including cloudy or turbid water, or there has been complete loss of water service or intermittent water service, it would be advisable to boil water before consumption. Cloudy or turbid water, or complete or intermittent loss of water service could mean your water supply may be compromised with disease-causing organisms.
As a precaution, users of the potentially affected water supply are advised to bring water to a rolling boil for one minute (not including the time to bring the water to a boil) before consuming or to use commercial bottled water for consumption and food preparation.
Consumption includes brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables and making beverages and ice. Tap water that has not been boiled may be used for showering, bathing, shaving and washing, so long as care is taken not to swallow or allow water in the eyes or nose or mouth.
Children and disabled individuals should have their bath supervised to ensure water in not ingested. Though the risk of illness is minimal, individuals who have recent surgical wounds, are immuno-suppressed, or have a chronic illness may want to consider using bottled water for cleansing until the concern of water quality has passed.
Businesses and non-residential sites should take steps such as posting notices at or disabling water fountains and ice machines during the period of concern over the water quality. If water is provided to visitors or employees, use of commercially produced bottled water for drinking and beverage preparation, such as for coffee, is appropriate. Food service and health care operations have additional requirements from their regulatory agency.
Here are some tips regarding water safety during and after and emergency event:
- Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
- If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water.
- If water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach per each gallon of water. Stir it well and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before you use it.
- Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
- If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.
For more information on water safety visit the following sites: http://nj.gov/health/er/natural.shtml or http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/food.asp