Residents in Marion County had to think twice before using tap water Tuesday morning.
Marion County Utilities issued a precautionary boil water warning after water pressure levels dropped below the average rate. That notice has since been lifted following the completion of a biological survey showing the water was safe to drink again.
“A widespread outage like this is very, very seldom,” said Deputy Utility Director Doug Andrews.
The warning extended to 1,000 customers in neighboring areas, including homes in Majestic Oaks, Bent Tree, Jasmine Park, Harvest Meadows, Boyd and Pidgeon Park.
It advised customers to boil all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes for at least one minute.
This was the third notice Bent Tree resident Jimmy Strickland could recall since moving to the area 12 years ago.
“I carry, regularly, 15 gallons of water in my garage,” Strickland said. “I’ll take some of that water, pour it in the sink, wash the dishes there and rinse it in the other basin.”
Strickland said he wasn’t concerned about the notice because he usually uses bottled water, with the exception of showers.
Most affected residents received an automated phone message explaining the situation. Informational door hangers were left for about 200 customers without available contact numbers.
County officials took water samples Tuesday morning and again 24 hours later to be lab-tested. They asked residents to follow the precautions just to be safe.
Andrews explained that when the water pressure is too low, pipes can absorb bacteria and contaminate the water. The neighboring communities affected by the water treatment precautionary measure are part of an old water system.
Marion County Utilities plans to integrate this area into an upgraded system so the notices don’t reoccur.