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East County News Service

November 30, 2019 (Poway) -- As a precautionary measure, residents in the City of Poway should boil their tap water before drinking or using the water for cooking until further notice, or use bottled water.  Restaurants and other food preparation facilities in Poway have been ordered by the County to temporarily close until the problem is resolved.

Due to the recent storm event, it is believed that the potable drinking water system has possibly been compromised.  Crews are working around the clock to restore normal water service.

“We are taking all of the necessary steps to address this situation,” said City Manager Chris Hazeltine. “Restoring normal water service is our top priority.”

Poway residents first reported discolored tap water on Friday, November 29. Staff tested the water at homes where the initial calls came from, and in the Poway water distribution system for chlorine residuals, which is an important water quality indicator, and found the water to be well within standards. However, since the water discoloration appeared to be citywide, Poway water officials notified the State Water Resources Control Board of the situation and all parties determined a boil water advisory was in the best interest as a precautionary measure.  

The City of Poway provides water service to approximately 50,000 residents. To date, the City of Poway has never issued a boil water order. 

Boiling water kills bacteria and other organisms. To avoid health problems, do not drink tap water without boiling for one minute and letting it cool. Or, use bottled water until the precautionary boil water advisory is rescinded.  Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Throw away ice and disinfect containers that have held tap water.

Avoid swallowing water when bathing or showering; consider giving young children a sponge bathe until the problem is fixed. 

View Poway's resource for more steps to take during a boil water advisory.

 Bottled water will be provided at Lake Poway  for Poway residents beginning Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7 a.m.

Restaurants ordered closed

San Diego County, Department of Environmental Health also ordered all restaurants and food preparation facilities within Poway city limits to stop food preparation and close facilities until the advisory is lifted.

"It is not safe to use the water for consumption, food preparation, or washing dishes," the county notice reads.

In addition, restaurants must flush all water lines, purge beverage and ice machines connected to water systems, throw away old ice, sanitize all items that may have been in contact with the water and discard all potentially contaminated food, according to the county notice.



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How can this happen?

 Water plants have procedures to avoid contamination. Who will pay for the lost income to stores and restaurants?