Boil water advisory issued for NE DC neighborhoods

This map shows the impacted areas for the Boil Water Advisory. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy DC Water)

A boil water advisory is in effect for parts of Northeast D.C., and DC Water says the earliest normal water use can be expected to return is Saturday.

The boil water advisory affects 14,000 customers, according to John Lisle, spokesman for DC Water.

While isolating a leak on a transmission line Wednesday afternoon, crews closed valves in the area of 13th Street and Spring Road in Northwest, according to a news release from DC Water. Following the repairs, customers in Northeast D.C. called reporting a loss of water pressure.

Neighborhoods affected include Brookland, Fort Lincoln, Woodridge, Queens Chapel, Michigan Park and North Michigan Park. Use DC Water’s interactive map to find if a property is in the affected area.

The impacted area includes homes and businesses:

  • East of North Capitol Street
  • West of Eastern Avenue
  • South of New Hampshire Avenue
  • North of New York Avenue

“Due to the loss of pressure in the system, it may have been for bacteria or other disease-causing organisms to enter the water through cracks, breaks or joints in the distribution system,” the utility said.

It is unknown if water was contaminated, and the boil water notice is being made as a precaution. DC Water is collecting samples and will lift the advisory when tests on two consecutive days show no bacteria is present.

Stuart Anderson, Director of Community Engagement with the Anacostia Coordinating Council, and his team have been alerting Ward 5 residents about the importance of getting vaccinated as well as the boil water advisory.

Anderson said his group, part of D.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine team, is usually focused east of the Anacostia, but they’re going door-to-door in the impacted area.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to inform people about the issues with the water, and also have a great excuse to ask them whether or not they’ve been vaccinated,” he said.

Anderson said they’ll knock on doors to let people know.

He gave an example of what he tells residents: “We want to inform you about this water emergency that’s going on, make sure you’re boiling water if you got to use water … And we want to make sure that you and your family are safe. Oh, and by the way, have you been vaccinated?”

Customers living in an impacted area should not drink or cook with their water without boiling or only use boiled water first. Home filtering devices are not a suitable replacement for boiled or bottled water.

Cooled, boiled water or bottled water can be used for the following:

  • Drinking
  • Brushing teeth
  • Preparing and cooking food
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Preparing infant formula
  • Making ice
  • Giving water to pets

If anyone is experiencing symptoms related to bacteria-related viruses and parasites, including diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms, DC Water asks that you seek medical attention.

For additional guidance, customers can use the DC Water website or check out its interactive map to see if they live in an impacted neighborhood. They can also call the 24-hour Command Center at 202-612-3400.

WTOP’s Kristi King and José Umaña contributed to this report.

Laura Spitalniak

Laura Spitalniak joined the WTOP edit desk at the beginning of 2020. She previously worked at WAMU, ABC News and CBS News. She is a graduate of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the daughter of a librarian.

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