A wide swath of Uptown New Orleans will remain under a precautionary boil water advisory until at least Wednesday afternoon, according to a city press release.
A boil water advisory means residents in the affected area should not drink, make ice from, brush teeth, bathe or shower, prepare or rinse food with tap water unless it has been properly disinfected. Disinfecting water by boiling it requires heating water in a clean container until it reaches a rolling boil, then continuing to boil it for at least one full minute.
The advisory is the result of a 30-inch rupture in a water main at approximately 6 a.m. Tuesday morning in the 7800 block of Cohn St., in the Carrollton neighborhood. The rupture flooded streets and cars in the area, and sent water pressure plummeting. The advisory is "precautionary" because water pressure did not fall below the threshold necessary to trigger an advisory; however, the Sewerage & Water Board says some monitoring stations reported readings very close to the threshold.
"Because we could not say with absolute certainty that at some point the pressure had not dropped below the standard threshold, we took our cue from the State [Department of Health and Hospitals] and took a very conservative approach," said Marcia St. Martin, Executive Director of the Sewerage & Water Board. "Public health is the top priority."
The localized nature of the incident means only residents in the affected area are under the advisory, the city said. Residents of other parts of Orleans Parish do not need to take precautions.
Water pressure that drops to or below 15 pounds per square inch triggers public health warnings because pressure in the system is not high enough to prevent leakage of contaminants back into the water supply. Once pressure is restored, the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Sewerage & Water Board must test the water, a process which takes at least 24 hours.
Water samples have been taken for testing, and work on repairing the main is expected to resume Wednesday morning. Officials will have the results of the tests by the afternoon, and will make the decision then whether or not to lift the advisory.
Citizens with property damage as a result of the breach and flooding are advised to contact the Sewerage & Water Board Claims Department for additional information at (504) 585-2422.