DC Water issued an advisory against using the water in parts of Shaw and Logan Circle yesterday after reports of a petroleum smell in the water. That means no drinking or washing dishes, which is bad news not just for residents, but the bars and restaurants in the area.
Uprising Muffin Co. is not serving coffee for now, just muffins. Owner Donnie Simpson Jr. says they also aren’t any doing dishes, and they’re using bottled water to wash lettuce, tomatoes, and other produce for sandwiches.
Simpson says a representative from DC Water came in the shop as they were getting ready to close at 6 p.m. and asked if they smelled anything strange in the water. “We said, ‘No.’ We didn’t know what he was talking about,” Simpson says. The representative then left but didn’t tell them not to use the water. About 30 minutes later, Simpson saw the contamination notice on Twitter. “We knew coming in this morning that that could still be an issue,” he says.
DC Water said in a statement this morning that crews worked through the night to flush the water distribution system. If lab tests underway now confirm the contaminant was flushed, the restrictions could be lifted this afternoon.
Y&H has contacted some of the bars in the area to see how they are responding to the contamination. Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE (11:55 a.m.): Mockingbird Hill’s coffee bar is closed this morning due to the water advisory. Co-owner Angie Salame, who’s also a partner in Eat the Rich and Southern Efficiency, says the staff for the trio of bars found out about the contamination before they opened yesterday and all used bottled water and bought ice. They used also purchased gallons to wash dishes. They’ll be open as usual tonight.
“We definitely didn’t smell anything, but obviously we don’t want to take risks when it comes to people getting sick,” Salame says.
Meanwhile, Right Proper Brewing Company is just outside of the contamination zone. Still, co-owner Thor Cheston is prepping just in case: “I think we bought all the bottled water that was at CVS.” He also hasn’t noticed any petroleum smell, but the restaurant has an “extremely intense” water filtration system because of its brewing operation. “We could filter out Niagara Falls with the size of the filters that we have,” he says.
Photo by Jessica Sidman