VIDEO: Alameda neighborhood may not be able to drink tap water for one week

ALAMEDA (KRON) — For the second night in a row, the City of Alameda was urging people living in the Alameda Point community to not drink or use the tap water.

This after the East Bay Municipal Utility District says it found traces of non-drinking water in the drinking water.

Families impacted have been told the advisory could last the week.

But at around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, city officials say the water is now safe to bathe or shower in.

All residents and businesses should flush their water fixtures for 10 minutes before using water for bathing and showering, officials said.

But residents and businesses should not drink, cook, or consume the water at Alameda Point until additional tests confirm it’s safe for consumption.

For the next few days, bottled water is the safest bet for people who live in Alameda Point.

“My daughter noticed it tasted funny,” resident Pauly Lanionhan said.

Lanionhan says Saturday was the last time his family felt comfortable using their tap water.

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That night, they bought their own bottled water to consume but continued using tap water for everything else, until the City of Alameda issued an advisory Tuesday cautioning against that.

“It is kind of scary because we have eaten,” Lanionhan said. “We were eating on that day too as well, having some…soup with that water, and then I had also made some vegetables boiled in that water. So, I’m not sure.”

Fortunately, Lanionhan says so far, no one in his family of five is showing any signs of sickness.

He is keeping a close eye on his 73-year-old mother and 2-year-old grandson.

And until this situation is resolved, the city says people should stick to using bottled water and avoid anything coming out of their tap even if you boil it.

“They said not to brush our teeth with it and take showers, and we’ve been doing that since Saturday,” Lanionhan said.

All day, the Alameda Fire Department and community emergency response teams handed out free cases of bottled water for those affected.

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“Concerned,” resident Richard Embody said. “I mean I use the water for everything.”

At a community meeting, East Bay Municipal Utility District and Alameda officials told residents recent testing shows the water quality is improving.

They’re doing their best to flush the bad water out.

But Liam Garland, acting director of public works, says outside of flushing a toilet, the water was still not safe enough to use.

“Our best bet at this point is that an irrigation line that is fed by a well out here in Alameda Point…that that irrigation line had a cross connection with the water pipes here,” Garland said. “…And that there was a failure of what’s called a backflow preventer and that…led to that irrigation water getting into our drinking water system.”

Crews are still not sure about the cause of the contamination.

Initially, the advisory issued by the city Tuesday was for 48 hours.

But the city says it’s possible residents, like Laniohan and his family, will be asked to avoid using their water through the end of the week.

RESOURCES FROM CITY:

Community needs: The City of Alameda has made 10 portable showers available for affected residents. Two of these showers are ADA compliant. Showers are located at the Alameda Fire Department Training Facility at 431 Stardust Place in the parking lot.

For those wishing to contribute to affected residents, they are in need of baby wipes, disposable diapers, and hand sanitizer. These items can be dropped off at the Alameda Point Collaborative, 677 W. Ranger Avenue, and will be distributed by volunteers. The Red Cross is providing bottled water and paper goods.

Do-Not-Drink Water Alert Remains in Place: While water quality continues to improve at Alameda Point, people should refrain from drinking or using tap water for cooking or bathing at Alameda Point, and avoid bodily contact. Water can be used for toilet flushing.

This water quality alert will not be lifted until the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water deems the water safe for drinking and bodily contact.

No immediate health threat has been found. If people have health concerns, they should talk to their doctor.

Additional information

Please call our water alert hotline at (510) 747-7460 for additional information. The hotline has received over 100 calls today from concerned community members.

Who is affected by this alert?

The water quality issues are isolated to Alameda Point due to the nature of the non-EBMUD infrastructure. 268 residents and over 60 businesses are affected and each has been notified. This only affects areas west of Main Street. Areas that are not affected include Coast Guard Housing, Bayport, Summer House Apartments, and Atlantic Apartments. The map below outlines the Alameda Point area in red:

What happened?

While field investigations are ongoing, it is likely that the source of the water quality issue is related to a cross-connection between a potable drinking water line and a non-potable irrigation line. Tests were taken at specific locations Tuesday night and we hope to have preliminary results of those tests by Thursday morning. Further testing is being done today, and those results will be available by the end of the week.

Next Update

We will continue to post regular updates with new information as it becomes available.

City updates: All City updates can be found here: https://alamedaca.gov/news

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