Since Friday, August 15, area businesses and residents of the Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District were advised to boil tap water before ingesting, or use bottled water, due to a coliform bacterial contamination. The warning included Palomar Medical Center in northern Escondido.
The coliform bacteria that was found in the drinking water is a naturally occurring bacteria, but could be an indicator that other, potentially harmful, bacteria could be present.
Over the weekend, water district officials were busy flushing, collecting water samples, testing and working side by side with the Department of Environmental Health.
Authorities from the district said the boil water notice was for customers with account numbers starting with 01 to 48, as well as 94, 96 and 97.
A district spokeswoman said the general area affected is along Interstate 15 from about Via Rancho Parkway to State Route 78 in the northern part of the city.
District authorities said in a statement that residents should use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking. Tap water should be brought to a boil, then allowed to boil for at least five minutes and cooled before using it.
The boil water order was expected to last at least 48 hours, and a failure to boil tap water could result in stomach or intestinal illness, district spokesperson Julia Escamilla said.
Alternative methods of disinfecting tap water include adding eight drops — an eighth teaspoon — of household bleach per gallon of clear water, or 16 drops — a quarter teaspoon — to a gallon of cloudy water, then mixing it thoroughly and letting it stand for 30 minutes.
Disinfection tablets can also be used if the manufacturer’s instructions are followed, Escamilla said.