Blades residents’ water safe to drink after flushing, Delaware officials say

After more than two weeks of not being able to drink water from the tap, residents in Blades, Delaware have been given the all clear. (Dan Rosenthal/WHYY)

After more than two weeks of not being able to drink water from the tap, residents in Blades, Delaware have been given the all clear. (Dan Rosenthal/WHYY)

Residents in Blades will soon be able to drink public water, a couple weeks after their supply was determined to be unsafe.

Two weeks ago, Delaware officials announced the town’s three municipal wells tested positive for perfluorinated compounds at a rate above the human health-advisory level.

Long-term exposure to the chemical, found in products including Teflon pans, can affect pregnant women and infants, cause cancer, and alter the liver and immune system.

Since the finding, residents have been supplied with water from portable water tanks.

A new carbon-filtration system has lowered PFCs below the health advisory levels, and residents’ water will be safe for drinking and cooking once their home water systems are flushed, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said Thursday.

The department reports PFC levels decreased from 70 parts per trillion to 3.4 ppt.

Commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-family units must be advised on a case-by-case basis prior to using public water, DNREC said.

Prior to using public water, the department urges the following steps for residents of single-family homes;

  1. Turn on outside faucets. All faucets can be turned on at once. Shut off faucets after 10 minutes.
  2. Turn bathtub faucets/showers on full hot until the water cools. All bathtub faucets/showers should be turned on at the same time. Shut off bathtub faucets/showers after water from the fixtures starts to cool.
  3. Turn other faucets on one at a time for 5 minutes each (hot and cold can be turned on simultaneously). Start on the first floor and continue to the second floor and any additional levels.
  4. Showers and tubs should be run a second time until hot water cools, out of an abundance of caution.
  5. Flush all toilets one time.
  6. Remove and dispose of all ice from refrigerator ice makers. If you also have a water dispenser on your refrigerator, run 3 gallons of water through it.
  7. Tankless water heaters or point-of-use (e.g. under the sink) water heaters, if in use, should be flushed for 30 minutes.

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