Water boil for city remains in effect until second test comes back clean
The city of Palatka issued a precautionary boil water notice to its residents Wednesday morning after the city’s drinking water system experienced a break in a water main.
According to a release from interim City Manager Betsy Driggers, the drinking water system suffered the break at approximately midnight Wednesday at 15th street and Diana Drive.
At 12:18 a.m., the system experienced a decrease in water pressure to less than 20 PSI, which allowed the possibility of contamination entering the public water system through backflow by back-pressure or back-siphonage.
The pressure was restored completely to the distribution system at 12:21 a.m.
During the time of the break, the city’s water tower was offline due to scheduled maintenance, which is what Public Works Director Jonathan Griffith said likely led to the contamination.
“We wouldn’t have this issue (if the tower wasn’t offline),” Griffith told the Palatka Daily News.
Due to the loss of pressure, and the possibility of contamination, the Palatka Utility Department has advised all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice brushing teeth, or washing dishes be boiled for at least a minute.
The main line repair was completed 7:40 a.m. Wednesday and the boil water notice will remain in effect until a bacteriological survey shows the water is safe to drink.
Griffith said the city must do a minimum of two tests of the water, but the city has an option to rescind the boil notice if the first test produces negative results for contamination.
Griffith said the city is likely to go through with two days of sampling instead of lifting the boil, however.
“We are rolling out today for the first test, and we are transporting the results to a lab in Gainesville,” Griffith said Wednesday. “The second test occurs tomorrow within 24 hours.”
Griffith said the city was able to address the break quickly and it is expected the city’s water will be cleared once testing is done.
“We expect them to be cleared,” Griffith said. “They were able to isolate the break quickly. The pressure was established within a minute and a half.”
The boil water notice goes beyond the use of water in resident’s homes, as local Palatka restaurants have had to eliminate some options from their food and drink menu until the notice has been lifted.
Bottled water is still safe to consume during the boil water period.