Officials closed Fort De Soto Park on Saturday and ordered many residents of Tierra Verde to boil their water after discovering that bacteria may be present.
The boil-water mandate — predicted to last all weekend — applies to Tierra Verde residents south of Madonna Boulevard, including those along the Pinellas Bayway and off Sands Point Drive. It also affects campers still at the park. It doesn't include Isla Del Sol, to the north.
"The water pressure dropped precipitously and is completely out at Fort De Soto," said Pinellas County spokesman Tom Iovino, who noted that a drop in pressure can make the water vulnerable to invading microbes.
The cause of the drop in pressure remains under investigation.
"Microbes, if present in the water, can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms," county officials said in a statement. "They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems. If you have specific health concerns, please consult your doctor."
For those in the impacted area, county officials recommended that all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes must be heated to a rolling boil for one to three minutes. They suggested that people use bottled water as an alternative.