Residents of the Steel City area of Lower Saucon Township are advised to boil their water before using it for the next few days.
Do not drink the water without boiling it first, advise officials with the Lower Saucon Authority.
Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms that may be in the water.
The boil water advisory was put in effect on Tuesday for the immediate Steel City area and will continue for a few days until tests are completed to confirm it is safe to drink.
This advisory applies to customers in the immediate Steel City portion of the Lower Saucon Authority system. It does not apply to customers in any other areas of the system.
Residents are advised to bring all water to a rolling boil, let it boil for 1-3 minutes, and let it cool before using. Or they should use bottled water.
Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth and preparing food until further notice.
The authority experienced an interruption in water service Tuesday.
The Steel City storage tank was accidentally emptied early Tuesday afternoon during a routine hydrant flushing operation.
The tank did not refill at the normal rate from neighboring Bethlehem's water system. The cause of that malfunction is being investigated.
As a result of the loss of pressure in the higher elevations of Steel City, water pressures in the local distribution system dropped to unacceptable levels in the early afternoon for a period of 1-2 hours, which may have allowed small amounts of groundwater to be drawn into the water mains.
While the loss of pressure does not automatically mean disease-causing organisms are in the water, it does mean there is an increased risk of the presence of these organisms, which can make people sick.
Such organisms can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
Anyone experiencing any of those symptoms may want to seek medical advice if they persist.
After the tank was refilled Tuesday night, mains in the affected area were flushed for hours.
"Once the tank is fully back in operation and the system is flushed, we will evaluate all available information and conduct tests to confirm the extent of the possible contamination of the system," said an authority spokesman Tuesday.
"We will lift the advisory once we have positive confirmation that the water is safe to consume without boiling. We anticipate test results from the independent lab within the next 72 hours. "
You can check on status of the boil water advisory on the Lower Saucon Authority website.