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Mandatory Boil Water Notice For Bay County

By: WJHG-TV
By: WJHG-TV

A county wide boil water notice has been issued Wednesday morning for all of Bay County.

A public works spokesman said the Bay County Water System has high turbidity levels and water used for cooking and drinking should be boiled as a precaution.

The spokesman says "We routinely monitor your water for turbidity (cloudiness). This tells us whether we are effectively treating the water supply. Water samples taken December 30 and 31, 2008 showed turbidity levels as high as 2.35 turbidity units. This is above the standard of 1.0 turbidity units. Because of these high levels of turbidity, there is an increased chance that the water may contain disease causing organisms.

What should I do?

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice.

• Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

• The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice.

What happened? What is being done?

At approximately 6:30pm on December 30, 2008 operators at the Bay County Water Treatment Plant made a routine raw flow adjustment increase to meet system demand. In line analyzers detected an abnormal level of turbidity and were confirmed through laboratory analysis.

Throughout the night the operations staff worked on correcting the problem. The problem was identified as an insufficient amount of primary coagulant being fed to the treatment process. To correct the problem the chemical feed system had to be dismantled to clear the blockage. It is believed the previous day’s delivery of chemicals contained some debris that lodged in the feed piping system. The chemical feed system was put back into operation in the early morning hours and treatment process was restored to normal operation.

This has caused elevated turbidity levels in the drinking water leaving the plant. The boil water notice will be rescinded upon receipt of satisfactory bacteriological results and a reduction of turbidity to a level less than 1 unit of turbidity.

We will inform you when turbidity returns to appropriate levels and when you no longer need to boil your water.

For more information, please contact Bay County Utility Services at
(850) 872-4785 or 4786, 3410 Transmitter Road, Panama City, Florida, 32404. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at
1(800) 426 4791.


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