State lifts boil-water advisory in California city of Poway

December 8, 2019 GMT

POWAY, Calif. (AP) — The Southern California city of Poway has lifted a week-long boil-water advisory after tests determined the water is safe to drink.

Residents and businesses reported discolored tap water starting Nov. 30 after a storm drain backed up into a water treatment facility’s reservoir during heavy rain.

The state’s Water Resources Control Board lifted the advisory Friday evening, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The action allows all restaurants, bars and other food-handling businesses in the city of about 50,000 people to reopen. Following the state advisory, the county’s Department of Environmental Health ordered them closed for public safety reasons, which was unprecedented in Poway’s history, the newspaper reported Saturday.


A few reopened over the last few days after obtaining temporary permits from the county that limited what and how food could be served. But most had remained dark for six days, leaving hundreds if not thousands of employees without a source of income, according to the Union-Tribune.

Starting immediately, the county said, businesses can reopen after following some disinfecting and cleansing guidelines that include flushing their water lines for several minutes.

“I’m thankful we’re back in business,” Mayor Steve Vaus said.

The problem came about Nov. 28 and 29 when 2 inches of rain fell. A 48-inch storm water pipe that runs beneath the city’s clear well reservoir near Lake Poway and next to a water treatment plant, backed up causing storm water to leak into the reservoir.

Mud and residue then clouded the water as it was sent in pipes to homes. The state issued the advisory on the 30th in an abundance of caution until it could be sure the water was clean and safe. Numerous tests since showed no bacterial issues, the Union-Tribune said.

A representative of the state said Poway could be ordered to prepare redesign plans to make sure the clear well is no longer connected to the storm water pipe.