Hurricane Irma began its rampage across Florida on Sunday, causing widespread destruction, floods, and power outages. The storm has now weakened to a Category 1, five days after it hit the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda at a Category 5, but hit areas are still not safe.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned that home fires, electrocution, gas explosions, and carbon monoxide are four deadly hazards that residents should be aware of. But a number of counties across Florida have also warned that water supplies could be infected. Here are those that have been issued mandatory boiling notices:
Residents served by the Cocoa Utilities Department were issued a boil water notice on Monday due to “multiple breaks within the system.”
It affects the entire Cocoa Utility Water System including Patrick Air Force Base, Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Cocoa, Port St. John, Rockledge and Viera.
The company advised that the water is safe for bathing and laundering but that all water for consumption should be boiled for at least one minute or that people should use bottled water. They added that if power is unavailable, residents can disinfect tap water by adding eight drops of unscented household bleach to each gallon of water and leaving it to stand for 30 minutes; 16 drops should be added to cloudy water.
The order will be in place for at least two days. Cocoa Utilities are also asking residents to notify them if they spot major water damage.
Collier County government tweeted on Sunday that Collier County Public Utilities put in place a boil water notice for all people in the area, including Goodland.
It added in a release that the order would stay in force until further notice. “As a precaution, we advise that all water used for drinking or cooking be boiled. A rolling boil of one minute is sufficient. As an alternative, bottled water may be used.”
Hollywood and Broward County
All residents of Hollywood were issued a mandatory boiling water order on Sunday. People living in the outer city areas of Pembroke Pines, Miramar, West Park, and Dania Beach must also boil their water because it comes from the same plant.
The water plant said in a media release that they had experienced a significant drop in pressure, which signifies a water main break. County officials said that residents are safe to shower under unboiled water but should keep the water away from their eyes and mouth.
The Florida Department of Health in Broward County said that residents should boil water for at least a minute or use bottled water. If those options are not possible they can disinfect water by adding eight drops of unscented household bleach per gallon of water and leave it to settle for 30 minutes before drinking; if the liquid remains cloudy after 30 minutes, residents should repeat the procedure.
The City of Hallendale Beach issued a separate order to say that residents at 501, 601, 701, 801, and 851 Three Island Blvd should boil water.
Officials issued a precautionary boil notice on Saturday that is still in place. They warned not to consume the water until notified that it is safe to do so.
They advised people to boil water for one minute, or disinfect using bleach, as described above, or use water purification tablets.