Yesterday afternoon while heading home from the Bruins game, we heard on the radio something about a boil water order east of Weston, but it was framed in the context of a joke (but this was sports radio, so lame jokes are the usual). Come to find out no, really, Boston and a bunch of surrounding cities and towns have to boil water after a large pipe burst in the aquaduct between the Quabbin reservoir and Boston.
We here in Gloucester know your pain, metro-Boston. We had a 20-day boil water order last summer, in the dead of August no less. With a 6 month old baby.
Obviously, there was a run on bottled water in Boston, and now tales of people fighting over bottles of Dasani or Cambridge residents screaming at Bostonites for taking water from their public drinking fountains are showing up on Twitter.
You can, however, survive without buying entirely bottled water. If you managed to get a gallon or so of spring water, word. But honestly? We only bought one or two gallons for the entire 20-day period. We boiled water as a daily routine, let it cool, and refrigerated it until we needed it. The real key is getting ahead of yourself and not waiting until you're out to boil more. We also kept a big stockpot of unrefrigerated boiled water for hand washing or cleaning.
If you're going to brave the stores, get bleach. Bleach will allow you to wash dishes more easily. 1/8tsp bleach to 1 gallon of water will kill the bacteria. So if you're still running the diswasher, just fill up your sink or a bucket with the treated water and let the clean dishes sit in it for 10 minutes or so, then dry. I assure you it won't hurt you, if you've ever eaten at a restaurant or gotten deli meat, you've ingested minute amounts of bleach (sanitizer solution is just bleach and water).
I remember it being an inconvenience, but it wasn't too bad - I really felt for the bars and restaurants in the area who had to close, and the people who didn't get their paychecks for three weeks. Mike just drove to work in foodservice in one of the towns affected - I'd love to hear how it is over there.