Boil Water Advisory at World’s Busiest Airport

Clocktower @ Atlanta Airport pic by Cecil Clontz 2011

On Thursday and Friday last week a large portion of Atlanta was under a boil water advisory. That is, residents and anyone in the affected areas were required to bring their water to a rolling boil for 1 minute before drinking, giving to pets, brushing teeth, and avoiding water filters and ice trays.

The boil water advisory was caused by a power interruption at a water pump station, according to the City of Atlanta. Given this is just a precaution, it was especially frustrating to residents that it would take 24 hours for the city to come back with the results of the water quality testing.

The boil water advisory was lifted for most areas some time on Friday, although in that time the world’s busiest airport was affected.

“ Restaurants inside the airport brought in bagged ice, water fountains were disconnected and signs were placed on restrooms doors alerting of the advisory.”

The problem with these precautions is that restaurants can lose millions of dollars as they put their operations on hold and are forced to flush out faucets, pipes, ice machines, and coffee machines after the advisory is lifted.

Part of the issue is America’s aging, crumbling infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers, for the second time in a row — the last one was 2013 — gave the US drinking water infrastructure a grade of D. The ASCE estimates that there is a water main break, which typically necessitates a boil water advisory, every 2 minutes in the United States! Startling.

That’s why we build rapid drinking water quality testing technology. Our newest product, the TestDrop Pro, can detect in 2-seconds whether there are contaminants present in water or not.

This consumer device can save millions of gallons of unnecessarily flushed water. It also provides easy-to-use tool to check if residents, and in this case, thousands and thousands of airport travelers and commuters, need to follow the boil water advisory or if this precaution is merely an inconvenient disruption to their daily life.

We also started a website devoted to tracking boil water advisories in real time. Take a look at our Twitter feed to see every boil water advisory that is happening around the country today.

It’s crucial to remain educated and vigilant around this issue particularly because of the likelihood that most people in the United States will be affected by it at one point or another. Watch this video to learn more and remember — know your water!

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