Tampa ends boil water notice for half-million customers
TAMPA - More than a half-million customers of Tampa’s water department can slurp their morning coffee and brush their teeth with tap water without fear of stomach problems after a day and a half of water-use cautions. Either water customers heeded the warning or the threat wasn’t too severe, as health officials noticed no uptick in weekend gastrointestinal complaints in the area’s walk-in clinics or hospital emergency rooms. Hillsborough County Health Department spokesman Steve Huard said fewer stomach complaints were reported than normal.“Reports from hospitals show gastro was below what we would have expected,” he said. Health care officials didn’t expect a rush for Mylanta and Beano because the city had issued a precautionary, rather than a mandatory, boil-water advisory. “If it was mandatory,” he said, “we would have been more concerned.” At 3:35 a.m. Sunday, city officials blasted an email that said Tampa’s water is safe, once again, to drink, brush teeth and wash dishes. The city had been under a precautionary boil-water notice since Friday afternoon, after a rat or squirrel chewed through a power line causing a power outage at the city’s water pumping station. “Test results confirm that water being provided to customers is safe to consume,” the email said. “The city of Tampa sincerely appreciates all customers’ patience as we worked to fully restore water service following a power failure at our water treatment facility.” The power outage occurred at the David L. Tippin Water Treatment Facility on Friday morning. Before declaring water safe to drink Sunday, water officials tested samples from 25 sites throughout the city and found no bacteria in those samples, officials said. The ban reached further than the sinks in the bathroom and kitchen. It forced some coffee shops to stop serving, spurred a rush on bottled water and ice at supermarkets and big-box stores and caused some restaurants to shut down, including Maggiano's Little Italy and P.F. Chang's China Bistro at WestShore Plaza.