Water Crisis: What we know now

Q&A: Everything you need to know about Dayton’s water outage

More than 400,000 people in Dayton and throughout Montgomery County were initially impacted by a water outage last night, and many residents have questions.

City leaders found the break early this morning and isolated the incident to a smaller affected area and treatment plants started pumping at full capacity, returning water to the impacted areas, officials said this morning. But the system won’t be working at top levels for several hours.

Here’s what you need to know about the water outage and boil advisory.

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1. Am I under the boil advisory?

The boil advisory that initially impacted 400,000 people has been revised to a tighter geography.

“Keep in mind that this is not a system-wide Montgomery County Boil Advisory. We have a very targeted area,” said Michael Colbert, Montgomery County administrator. A map of the impacted area can be found here.

The city of Dayton’s boil advisory map can be found here.

The revised advisory has impacted roughly 45,000 water connections in Montgomery County, which impacts an unknown number of Montgomery County residents and 75,000 city of Dayton residents in  the following neighborhoods: Belmont, College Hill, Dayton View Triangle, DeWeese, Eastern Hills, Eastmont, Fairlane, Fairview, Forest Ridge/Quail Hollow, Germantown Meadows, Greenwich Village, Hearthstone, Highview Hills, Hillcrest, Lakeview, Linden Heights, Little Richmond, Mount Vernon, North Riverdale, Northern Hills, Northridge Estates, Patterson Park, Pheasant Hill, Pineview, Princeton Heights, Residence Park, Santa Clara, Shroyer Park, University Row, Walnut Hills, Wesleyan Hill and Wright View, along with parts of Burkhardt, Arlington Heights, Cornell Heights, Kittyhawk, Philadelphia Woods, Riverdale, Stoney Ridge and Westwood.

The areas not affected by the boil advisory include Kettering, Centerville, Washington and Miami townships and Moraine. 

Call (937) 333-4905 or type your address here to see if you’re uncertain whether you’re under the boil advisory if you live within Dayton. Other Montgomery County residents can call 937-781-2688.

Water crisis: What you can & can't do

2. Why do I need to boil my water?

“To be precautious of the health of our population an advisory is issued, as there can be contamination of the water supply,” said Jeff Cooper, Montgomery County Health Commissioner. “We strongly encourage all individuals affected to adhere to the boil advisory until it’s lifted, and if you’re concerned, always adhere to professional recommendation.”

When there is any unanticipated change or disruption to the water service system, it is nationally recognized best practice to issue a boil advisory, he said.

Water could be rusty, cloudy or murky due to air trapped in the system, but it should dissipate over five to seven business days, said Dayton city manager Shelly Dickstein.

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3. Is a water filter good enough?

You should still boil tap water even if you’re using a water filter. According to the CDC, most water filters don’t remove bacterium or viruses.

Even with a filter, experts recommend letting tap water run for three minutes and boiling it for one minute before using.

4. Why did this happen?

There was a water main break in the Great Miami River, which was located and isolated around 1:30 a.m. this morning. The transmission break can’t be repaired until the river level drops.

Once the leak is repaired, the city will determine what caused the damage.

SKY7: Aerial View of bridge and River

5. How long will I be under a boil advisory?

The city will continue testing the water for the next 24-48 hours to ensure that it’s safe for customers. Meanwhile, customers should continue boiling their water until the boil advisory is lifted, said Michael Powell, the water department’s director. Residents should continue conserving water until the system is back at full capacity.

The county hopes to lift the entire boil advisory on Saturday.

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6. Can I go to a local restaurant for food and water?

As long as restaurants have water and are outside of the boil advisory zone, they can open. Restaurants in the zone can open as long as they follow guidelines laid out by Public Health Dayton-Montgomery County and boil all water used.

“We are working closely with Montgomery County, but our restaurants know what to do in a boil advisory to make sure your Valentine’s Day goes off without a hitch,” said Amy Zahora executive director of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association.

7. Can I do laundry and shower?

City officials warned Thursday that residents in the impact zone should avoid washing light color clothing as the water could be muddy or cloudy for five to seven days.

Dayton has opened three distribution cites at the recreation centers at 2021 W. Third St., 1600 Princeton Drive and 2366 Genarm Ave. for Red-B-Gone laundry additive that will protect laundry from discolored water. Residents will have to show identification or a Dayton water bill show addresses in the affected area. Centers are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Water does not need to be boiled for bathing.

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8. Where can I get water if I need it?

Montgomery County is working with the state to set up drinking water distribution centers, said Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert. Help will first go to high-risk areas like hospitals, nursing homes and jails.

Several skids came in today to be delivered, enough to last potentially into this evening, at which point Montgomery County could be challenged.

“We will deplete our supply as necessary and then we have reach out to the state to support us with their supply,” Colbert said. Only so much water can be stored, and the county may need the state to help bring in tankers of portable water and deploy them.

Kroger also donated water that’s available at the Dayton Food Bank and at three Kroger stores on Siebenthaler Avenue, Needmore Road and Smithville Road.

Other areas to get safe bottled water include: Christian Life Center, 3489 Little York Road; Happy Corner Church, 7037 N. Union Road; Trotwood Fire Station 72 at 5469 Little Richmond Road; and Walmart at 8800 Kingsridge Drive in Centerville.

9. What should I do if I drank water?

Anyone who becomes ill as a result of the Montgomery County water outage likely won’t develop symptoms for a day or two. Stomach issues would be the most common symptom people may notice, said Thomas Krzmarzick, division chief of emergency medicine at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Most children who fall ill won’t need to see a doctor and will likely feel better within a few days, Krzmarzick said. Children who are completely unable to keep food down or if blood becomes present in their stool, Krzmarzick said that’s when it’s time to get them to a pediatrician or emergency department.

Water Crisis: Dayton Children's Press Conference

10. What businesses use the most water?

The Dayton businesses that use the most water are in order as follows: Cargill Inc., Tate & Lyle, Miami Valley Hospital, University of Dayton,  VA Center, Hohman Plating Co., Greater Dayton Premier Health,  AGA Gas Inc. and Dayton Correctional Facility.

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