105 - Hurricane Irma News Release - Ice Contamination and Risks to Water Supply Due to Hurricane Irma
Ice Contamination and Risks to Water Supply Due to Hurricane Irma
Heavy rainfall from storms or a hurricane can contaminate the public water supply, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. Individuals cannot assume the water in the storm-affected area is safe to drink. Ice made from contaminated water is also unsafe to drink.
Collier County Health Department officials warn against drinking fountain drinks at commercial establishments if the water used to make the ice was not boiled or treated to eliminate contaminants (germs) first. To be safe it is best to drink only from sealed bottles and not use ice in drinks. Ice purchased from machines should also not be used in drinks. Water used to make hot drinks such as coffee also needs to be boiled or treated first.
Water for Drinking and Cooking
Safe drinking water includes bottled, boiled or treated water. Here are some general rules concerning water for drinking and cooking.
• Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food or make ice.
• If you use bottled water, know where it came from. Otherwise, water should be boiled or treated before use. Drink only bottled, boiled or treated water until your supply is tested and deemed safe.
• Boiling water kills harmful bacteria and parasites. Bringing water to a rolling boil for 1 minute will kill infectious organisms (germs).
• Water may be treated with chlorine by mixing eight drops (1/8 teaspoon; about the size of a dime) of unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach (4-6 percent active ingredients) per gallon of water. Mix the solution thoroughly, and let stand for about 30 minutes. Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination. However, this treatment will not kill parasitic organisms that may have entered a flooded well. Iodine or other disinfection tablets available at sporting goods stores may also be used.
Containers for water should be rinsed with a bleach solution before reusing them (one tablespoon bleach per gallon of water). Use water storage tanks and other types of containers with caution. For example, fire truck storage tanks as well as previously used cans or bottles may be contaminated with microbes or chemicals. Do not rely on untested devices for decontaminating water.
Contact your county health department for sampling instructions to get your water tested.
The Collier County Information Hotline remains active 24-hours a day. Residents with questions may call the Hotline at (239) 252-8444 (within Collier County residents may dial 311). Information can also be found at colliergov.net or social media channels, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/CollierGov) and Twitter (@CollierPIO).