FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The water system crisis continued Saturday with a boil-water advisory that remains in effect in areas of Broward County.
The boil-water advisory is affecting about tens of thousands in the city of Fort Lauderdale, about 1,000 in then town of Davie and thousands in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a beach town with dozens of hotels.
The crisis began Wednesday after Florida Communication Concepts, a subcontractor for Florida Power & Light, drilled into a 42-inch pipe. The damaged water main feeds from underground wells.
When underground valves failed, issues with the Fiveash Regional Water Treatment Plant came to light. According to the city officials, the plan is operating above its daily production levels Saturday to replenish water reserves.
"Work will continue on the valves in preparation for the permanent repair," said Chaz Adams, the city of Fort Lauderdale spokesman. "It is estimated that early next week, work will begin on redirecting the flow of water so a contractor can replace the damaged pipe and complete the permanent repair."
Aside from Fort Lauderdale, Davie and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, the plant also services the village of Sea Ranch Lakes and the cities of Wilton Manors, Oakland Park and Tamarac.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said the incident was a "wake-up call." Officials said the underground valves had not been tested in nearly a decade and the aging plant needs to be either rebuilt or replaced. In Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, salty groundwater has been eroding pipes.
Residents said the demand for water bottles at local supermarkets has been overwhelming. Authorities are distributing bottled water from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at the Beach Community Center at 3351 NE 33rd Ave., at Riverland Park at 950 SW 27 Ave., and at Mills Pond Park at 2201 NW 9th Ave.
• Fill a pot with water.
• Heat the water until bubbles come from the bottom of the pot to the top.
• Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for 1 minute.
• Turn off the heat source and let the water cool.
• Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage.
Boil tap water even if it is filtered. Most kitchen and other household water filters typically do not remove bacteria or viruses.
Preparing and cooking food:
- Wash all fruits and vegetables with boiled water that has cooled or bottled water.
- Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute before adding food to cook.
- Use boiled water when preparing drinks, such as coffee, tea, and lemonade
- Wash food preparation surfaces with boiled water.
Feeding babies and using formula:
- Breastfeeding is best. Continue to breastfeed. If breastfeeding is not an option:
- Use ready-to-use baby formula, if possible.
- Prepare powdered or concentrated baby formula with bottled water. Use boiled water if you do not have bottled water. Disinfect water for baby formula if you cannot boil your water (see above for directions on how to use bleach to disinfect water).
- Wash and sterilize bottles and nipples before use.
- If you cannot sterilize bottles, try to use single-serve, ready-to-feed bottles.
• Do not use ice from ice trays, ice dispensers, or ice makers.
• Throw out all ice made with tap water.
• Make new ice with boiled or bottled water.
- Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle.
To wash dishes by hand:
• Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.
• In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.
• Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.
• Let the dishes air dry completely.
Bathing and showering
B e ca r eful not t o s w all o w a n y wat er when b a thing or sh ow e r in g .
U se caution when b a thing babies and y oung child r en. C onsider g iving them a sponge b a th t o r edu c e the chan c e of them s w all o wing wat e r .
Brush t eeth with boiled or bottled wat e r . Do not use untreated tap water.
Pets can get some of the same diseases as people. It is a good idea to give them boiled water that has been cooled.