How to stay safe
Here are answers about the boil-water order issued by the city of Tampa.
What's this about? The Water Department wants all customers to boil tap water intended for internal consumption. It's a preventive measure, in case the water supply, which lost pressure for an hour in an electrical outage, was infiltrated by bacteria.
How long do I boil water? Get it rolling and let it go for a full minute.
Are there other options? Drink bottled water. Use water purification tablets. Or add eight drops of common, unscented household bleach (about 1/8 teaspoon) to 1 gallon of tap water and let it sit for 30 minutes before drinking. If the water is cloudy, the city recommends 16 drops.
How long will this situation last? Testing is under way, but the soonest the advisory would be lifted is this morning. Monitor news reports for updates.
Is my ice safe? Best to throw it away. Use old-fashioned ice cube trays and boiled water.
Can I brush my teeth? Not with tap water, until the ban is over.
How about pets? Use either bottled or sanitized water.
Can I do laundry? Yes.
Can I wash dishes? The city recommends using a dishwasher at its hottest setting, with heated drying. If you hand-wash dishes, remember to first treat the tap water.
Can I take a bath? Yes, unless you have recent surgical wounds or are chronically ill or immunosuppressed. Make it a short one. Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose or mouth, and supervise children or disabled people to ensure they do the same.
Compiled with information from Tampa Water Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.