Greg Stanley, email@example.com; 239-263-4738 Published 11:16 a.m. ET Sept. 20, 2017 | Updated 6:24 p.m. ET Sept. 20, 2017
Water is safe to drink once again from the Collier County water utility without boiling it. That includes ice in restaurants, coffee, all of it.
The city of Naples and Everglades City utilities still have boil water notices in effect.
The Collier County Public Utilities Department lifted its boil water notice Wednesday for all customers of the Collier County Water District, including Goodland and the Orange Tree.
The cities of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City, however, have their own drinking water utilities. Boil water notices remain in Naples and Everglades City. Like Collier County, Marco Island ended its boil water notice Tuesday.
The Naples boil water notice may be in effect until at least Friday, City Manager Bill Moss said.
There are also several small private utility companies in Collier County that may have boil water notices. Customers are advised to check with their utilities.
The Collier County notice was put in place immediately following Hurricane Irma, which caused hundreds of breaks in the county utility's water lines. It took about a week to find and fix all the major breaks, which were spread out over the 240-square-mile district that serves more than 360,000 customers.
More than 360 tests were conducted in the 72 hours following the storm, said George Yilmaz, administrator of the county utility department. Potential contamination was found in three of those tests, Yilmaz said.
"It was most likely related to water main breaks due to fallen trees and the uplifted water mains and pipes due to tree roots coming up out of the ground," Yilmaz said.
There's no reason for customers to flush or change out water filters, Yilmaz said.
"We issued the precautionary boil water notice not because of contamination but out of an abundance of caution," he said. "With a Cat. 4 hurricane we thought we might be missing something through our damage assessment and wanted to make sure customers are safe. It is safe to drink. It is safe to consume. It's safe to use for any purpose."
The county is still urging residents to conserve water, but it is no longer necessary to refrain from using dish washers or washing machines to avoid backups in the sewage system.
While some county sewage pumps remain without power, the system is stable.
As of Tuesday, temporary pumps and generators had been installed and the sewage system was stable throughout the county, Yilmaz said.
"We are still urging customers to conserve water. As of yesterday we are able to manage all the flows without sewage system overflows."