EAST BANK—A warning for people on the East Bank of New Orleans: Don't drink the water without boiling it for one minute, or you could get sick. A huge inconvenience and ABC26 News Reporter Vanessa Bolano has how it started and when it should end.
Besides sputtering faucets, a power outage at the plant at the Sewerage and Water Board off S. Claiborne has prompted everyone on the East Bank of Orleans Parish to boil their water.
Dr. Takeisha Davis with the Office of Public Health says boil the water for one minute, "If you are going to drink water, cook with it, bath with it, brush your teeth, do anything with the water."
The State recommends that you disinfect your water by boiling it for one minute and letting it cool down prior to consumption (including drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, bathing or preparing food). Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one-minute boil time begins after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. (If there is a flat taste, it can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.)
Victoria Harrison who lives Uptown says, "It just wouldn't come on, there was just no water at all for like, well when I went to sleep until probably around 2 or 3am."
The sewerage and water board still does not know what went wrong last night that caused water pressure to tumble to "dangerously low levels."
Marcia St. Martin with the Sewerage and Water Board says, "Last night at 10:58 we had a catastrophic failure of all of the redundant systems."
Because of that bacteria may have gotten into underground pipes, but the Mayor says we know if it did until at least 3pm tomorrow.
"For the residents, for the businesses, for tourists, I have been advised by the experts at public health that this is precautionary only."
"I have to shower and I have to use the water, I mean I'm not drinking it, but I showered and I brushed my teeth," says Harrison.
Health officials say if you're sick or you have an open wound you should boil the water you shower with as well. They stress any water that may be ingested should be boiled for at least one minute at a rolling boil.
Dr. Davis says, "If the system is compromised then there's an increased risk for potential infection or rash."
Tulane students say they've been given bottled water. "At school they shut the water off so that we wouldn't get contaminated," says Sophomore Lexi Fine.
It's the first time that this has happened on the East Bank since the days after Hurricane Katrina.
Don't forget about your pets, you should boil their water as well!