SANDY — Some Sandy residents are being urged to flush their taps and leave hot and cold water running for 30 minutes after the city's water samples showed high levels of lead and copper.
The order affects residents who live between 700 East and 2000 East, from 10600 South down to 11400 South, said Tom Ward, director of Sandy City Public Utilities.
The Utah Division of Environmental Quality estimates that about 450 residents are affected.
Leaving water running for that long amounts to about $6, which the city will automatically refund to residents who are affected, city officials said. Restaurants and other businesses in the area were given the same advice as a precaution.
"Sandy City had a situation last week during the big snow storm where they had a fluoride feeder that kicked on that inadvertently sent fluoride into the system while that particular well was not diluting the fluoride going in," said Marie Owens, the director of Utah's Division of Drinking Water.
The city first became alerted to the problem when a resident called to report foul-tasting water, Ward said. As soon as utility workers knew they had a problem, they worked quickly to flush the system, he said.
A small group of residents in the area near the contaminated water were warned about the problem last Friday via door-to-door notices, Ward said.
It took a couple of days to determine what was going on, Owens said, after which Sandy notified the division Feb. 8 of the situation. The city had been monitoring fluoride levels in the system and took two lead and copper samples on Feb. 7 while investigating.
The results, which were given to the water division, came back Friday "quite high" for lead and copper, Owens said.
Sandy has flushed out its water system of the fluoride, but the water division still needs to determine the long-term effects of the lead and copper. Fluoride levels are safe, but it is unknown how long lead and copper results will be high, according to Owens.
Symptoms of fluoride poisoning are gastro-intestinal and include vomiting, Ward said. Residents of at least five households reported they weren't feeling well last week after drinking the water, he added, but the illness does not last long.
He urged people who are sick in the area, possibly as a result of the contamination, to call their doctors.