If you live in South Broward County, plan on boiling your water for at least the next two days.
E-coli bacteria was found in a Broward County well, prompting city officials in Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, West Park, Dania Beach and Davie to alert residents and businesses to the danger.
Robocalls went out Wednesday, urging people to buy bottled water or boil the water they use for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, making ice cubes and brushing their teeth. Pet owners were also urged to not give their animals water straight from the tap.
Bathing or showering is fine as long as the water stays out of your eyes and mouth, said Terry Karda, director of operations with Broward County Water and Wastewater Services.
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The boil water advisory will be in effect at least through Friday night, he said. It won’t be lifted until future water samples are clear for two consecutive days, which means if any contaminated water turns up, the boil advisory will continue even longer.
More than 87,000 customers are affected.
“[Those impacted] need to do their diligence if they are susceptible to any ailments,” Karda said.
E. coli has been known to cause diarrhea, kidney failure and cramps, and in severe cases has resulted in death.
There have been no reports of anyone in Broward County reporting such symptoms, Karda said.
E. coli contaminations are most often caused when storms wash human and animal feces into the groundwater. Karda said the runoff from last Friday’s flooding could be a cause of the contamination.
The tainted water came from the South Broward Regional Well Field site, but because the water system is all connected, officials decided to issue an advisory across a broader swath.
Included in the boil-water zone: The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Spokesman Gregory Meyer said the airport bagged more than 100 of its water fountains and posted notices in the airport bathrooms telling people not to wash their hands; instead they should use hand sanitizers.
Meyer said airport restaurants will use bottled water or boil their water before using it.
Other businesses have to worry about keeping children safely hydrated.
Susan Rakes, assistant director with the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, said the summer arts camp has taken all precautions to make sure kids are staying healthy.
The camp is giving water bottles to all children who don’t already have them, Rakes said.
“It’s a matter of safety,” she said.