In grip of advisory, water a commodity

by Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, originally posted on June 29, 2016


The to-get list was short for many of those hitting stores in Jacksonville on Tuesday: Water.

A water emergency and boil order prompted by a major leak at the city’s treatment facility made life’s most basic need a bit of a commodity at some places.

For Amanda Sabino, the need to cook and drink meant it was time to stock up on two cases of bottled water from County Market.

“I was relieved to get some,” Sabino said, expecting the store to be out by the time she arrived. “You never really realize how important it is until something happens and you can’t use it.”

With two children, Sabino said the most difficult part about the water emergency will be keeping her children away from the tap.

Because parents teach their children to wash their hands after they use the restroom, to drink water, Sabino said she’ll have to monitor her children to make sure they don’t wash their hands with the tap water or try to get a drink themselves.

“You have to think about everything you do,” Sabino said.

Terry Grant, whose two children were home for the day because day cares were closed, said because he still has to help his daughter get drinks, he’s hoping it’ll be a little easier.

“I figured we should get a few (cases), because we don’t know how long this will last,” he said.

County Market manager Jerry Beck said the store sold out of gallons of water within a few hours but still had a supply of cases of bottled water with more on the way.

“We have plenty coming and we hope to keep up the supply,” he said. “It was pretty crazy in here earlier.”

Some restaurants either closed or limited what they could serve. Fast-food places like McDonald’s and Wendy’s had to buy canned soft drinks for their customers.

A few medical offices also closed their doors, as well as day care centers and social services.

Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast was open, but having to contact guests about the water situation before their scheduled arrival.

Morgan County Health Department administrator Dale Bainter said while the boil is just precautionary because of the chance of bacteria or debris getting in the water, it is important to be vigilant to avoid problems.

By using only bottled or boiled water to cook, wash dishes and drink, Bainter said it is less likely to be affected by any contaminants. Bainter said it is safe to use tap water for showers and baths, but it is important not to wash hands in water straight from the tap.

“Though it is safe for bathing, you are not consuming it,” Bainter said. “You use your hands when handling food or eating. It gives any contaminants an oral access.”

Bainter said if there is a problem with the water, it is likely to show itself through gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Anna Meyer said she plans to avoid the order by spending time with her aunt and uncle who use well water.

“They live off of well water, so they have a nice filtration system,” Meyer said. “If this lasts awhile, I’ll probably be out there more often than not.”

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