Baton Rouge --- Due to potential weather threats from Hurricane Rita, the state Department of Health wishes to remind citizens that if they experience water pressure loss during the storm, their system is considered to be on a blanket boil advisory until health officials notify the public that the water is safe for consumption.
Citizens who experience water pressure loss should not use their tap water to drink, make ice, brush teeth, prepare or rinse food with tap water unless it has been properly disinfected until further notice.
Therefore, health officials have issued a boil notice for these water systems, effective immediately.
Health officials are cautioning the users of affected water systems to disinfect their water before consuming or using for food preparation by any of the following means:
- Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one minute starts after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. The flat taste can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.
People who lose electricity during the storm and are unable to boil their water can disinfect it by any of the following means:
- If the water is clear, mix 1/8 teaspoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach with one gallon of water and let it stand for 30 minutes prior to consumption. If the water is cloudy or colored, use ¼ teaspoon per gallon of water. Be sure to mix thoroughly. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more palatable by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times.
- If the water is clear, mix five drops of 2% United States Pharmacopeia (USP) tincture of iodine solution (common household tincture of iodine from the medicine cabinet or first aid package) to each quart of clear water and let it stand for at least 30 minutes prior to consumption. If the water is cloudy or colored, use 10 drops to each quart of water.
Health officials note that boiling is the most effective method of disinfection of water, particularly for people who are severely immuno-compromised (infected with HIV/AIDS, cancer and transplant patients taking immunosuppressive drugs, or people born with a weakened immune system) and for infants and elderly who wish to take extra precautions.
The boil notice will remain in effect until rescinded by an authorized representative of the Department of Health and Hospitals.