By TRAVIS HANDY
Power outages at town and county water plants have led to water shortages and a boil notice for the town of Pulaski and several outlying communities in Pulaski County today.
Assistant County Administrator Robert Hiss indicated in an email that public water customers and restaurants in the following areas should use boiled or bottled water for drinking and cooking: Town of Pulaski, Shiloh, Draper, Newbern, Thornspring and county PSA water customers in areas south of Interstate 81 to the Wythe County line.
The boil notice issued before noon today instructs residents and businesses to boil all water “used for drinking, beverage and food preparation, and making ice until further notice,” and warned that not doing so could result in stomach or intestinal illness. The notice advises bringing all tap water to a rolling boil, letting it boil for one minute and letting it cool before use.
The release indicates power is expected to be restored to the water plants later this afternoon. Citizens should continue to boil tap water or use bottled water for another 72 hours after power has been restored to allow for appropriate testing of water quality.
Pulaski County Health Department also issued guidelines for businesses operating under a boil notice.
All drinking water must be boiled for one minute or as otherwise approved. All water used for cooking shall be boiled for at least one minute unless the cooking process involves boiling for one minute or more. Only boiled or bottled water shall be used to wash any fruits or vegetables that will be eaten raw. Bottled water must be from an approved source and stored so that it is protected from contamination, and all drinking water fountains, soda machines, coffee makers and ice machines directly connected to a water line should be disconnected.
The guidelines go on to state that any bulk water transported to the facility for use as potable water shall be from an approved source as determined by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Office of Drinking Water. All ice used while under a boil notice shall be from an approved source as determined by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Boil water notices” should be posted in all areas of the facility where water is accessible to the public, including but not limited to restrooms and water fountains. Also, utensils and other cookware washed, rinsed and sanitized in a three-compartment sink shall be air dried for five minutes and if any sanitizing solution remains, thoroughly dried with clean paper towels.
The Department of Health further recommends providing alcohol based hand sanitizers where appropriate for use after proper hand washing but indicates that is not appropriate for food handlers. Single service items—disposable plates, utensils and cups—should be utilized whenever possible.
Further notices from county officials will be issued as the situation develops and will be shared as soon as they become available.