Emergency Preparedness Highlighted During Drinking Water Week
Houston County, Georgia-- As Drinking Water Week 2012 concludes (May 6-12), the Houston County Health Department and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) join water professionals across North America in encouraging home preparedness for water-related emergencies.
"We all have an important role to play in keeping our water supplies safe and preparing for the unexpected," said AWWA Executive Director David LaFrance. "Sometimes that means taking a few moments out of our busy schedules to develp a back-up emergency plan for our family members should we lose our conventional way of obtaining water."
Christine Buffington, Houston County Health Department Environmental Health County Manager, said, "What would you do if your drinking water supply was unavailable for three or more days? Drinking Water Week is a good time to prepare ourselves for such rare water emergencies."
In the post 9/11 era, water professionals and emergency responders have taken steps to further protect water supplies, treatment facilities and distribution systems from natural and man-made disasters. Meanwhile, public health agencies, hospitals and emergency personnel continue to practice disaster response scenarios. Utilities have also developed WARN networks, which prepare them assist one another quickly and efficiently during emergencies.
Still, consumers should be prepared for rare service interruptions that can occur from natural disasters, system malfunctions, power outages or other events. Preparing for water emergencies includes:
- Store one gallon (about 4 liters) of water per person per day. Have enough water on hand to last at least three days. Instead of buying gallons of bottled water, you can refill clean plastic juice containers or two liter soda bottles with tap water. Before you fill your containers, make sure you sanitize the container with unscented bleach. Replace with clean fresh tap water every six months.
- Store water in quality food-grade plastic containers instead of glass. Avoid paper containers that will weaken over time.
- If your water supply source is from an individual water supply such as a well, make sure to test your water annually for bacterial contamination. This service is provided at the Houston County Health Department, Environmental Health Section. We can also make sure your water supply (well) is protected against surface contamination!
Observing Boil Water Notices
- Your water utility has a process in place to alert you if problems exist with your tap water. Water suppliers, working with state and local health officials, may issue a "Boil Water Order" or a "Do Not Drink" notice if testing indicates contamination may be present.
- When a Boil Water Order is issued, make sure any water used for drinking is boiled for at least three minutes. If you still have power, refrigerate the water after you have boiled it.
- Monitor local news for status updates or contact the health department and we can assist you in gaining information on your water supply concerns.
About Drinking Water Week
For more than 35 years, the American Water Works Association and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week -- a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to regognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives.
For more information, contact the Houston County Health Department at 478-218-2000.
AWWA is the authoritative resources for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.