NEW ORLEANS - A precautionary boil water advisory has been issued for all of the east bank of Orleans Parish, after a loss of water pressure Sunday morning, city officials said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a press release sent out just before 11:30 a.m. that the advisory will remain in effect for at least 24 hours and until further notice. Landrieu added that water pressure has stabilized across most of the city.
In a press conference Sunday afternoon, Marcia St. Martin, the water board director, said a flame had developed in the power house, damaging the boiler and causing pressure to drop below minimum acceptable levels.
St. Martin said they are assessing the cost of damages, and all water samples to be tested will be collected by Sunday afternoon.
S&WB recommends that customers boil their water for one minute and let it cool down prior to consumption (including drinking, cooking, brushing teeth or preparing food).
Officials say it's not not necessary to boil tap water for showering, laundry or bathing. If you do shower or bathe, make sure you have no open wounds and are not immune-compromised, and close your eyes and mouth while minimizing the amount of time spent in the water.
"If you're gonna consume water, whether cooking or drinking or using it to brush your teeth, that means taking water to a rolling boil for at least a minute and letting it cool before you use it," said New Orleans Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo. "And if you're gonna bathe, it's fine for most people. If you're compromised and have open wounds, it's probably a good idea not to do that unless you do it with boiled water."
If you're bathing children, city officials say you should use a sponge to keep the water away from the eyes and mouth.
The problem first popped up just before 9 a.m. and the mayor's office tweeted a statement confirming the reports of low or no water pressure.
"Widespread loss of water pressure reported. We are looking into the matter," the mayor's office tweeted just after 9:15 a.m. on Sunday.
About 9:30 a.m., some customers reported the water pressure was returning to normal, however. The problem appeared to have lasted for about an hour.
The area affected appeared to affect much of the city, with residents Uptown, in Lakeview, Gentilly, the Seventh Ward, and Faubourg Marigny calling or emailing Eyewitness News to report the problem.
In October 2012, a power outage shut off water to much of the city and prompted a boil water advisory, though city officials were criticized for the delay in notifying residents and businesses. It was more than four hours before the notification was issued that tap water could be contaminated because of the power loss.
The boil water advisory is generally issued because of concerns about contamination during a power outage.
The mayor pointed to the October power problem, and the city's aging sewerage and water infrastructure, as evidence of the need for a rate increase to update the city's systems.