Baltimore, MD - Sept. 28, 2023 - Today, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) shared that during a regular check of the water in Druid Lake Reservoir, they found tiny amounts of a microbe called Cryptosporidium. This little bug is usually found in places like lakes and rivers, and can sometimes cause stomach issues, especially in folks who have weaker immune systems like the elderly, kids, or people who are already sick.
This finding only affects some parts of Baltimore's water system. But don't worry, our drinking water is still safe for most of us. This situation is different and not as serious as other water problems we've had before. Here's a map you can check to see if your area is affected.
Cryptosporidium, or Crypto for short, is a microbe that can be found in many water sources. Although it can cause health issues in some people, the levels found in our water are so low that they don't pose a real risk to the general public. Crypto is tough against chlorine treatments, but again, there's no immediate risk here.
The key takeaway? The levels of Crypto found aren't harmful for most people. The water's still safe to drink. However, if you're in a group that could get sick easily, you might want to take some extra steps to stay safe.
Who should be careful, and what should they do? If you have conditions that weaken your immune system, you might want to take some precautions. Coming into contact with Crypto could cause cryptosporidiosis, which can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach pain. Healthy folks usually recover pretty fast without needing a doctor. Examples of people who might want to be careful include those with HIV/AIDS, certain inherited diseases, cancer patients, and those who had organ transplants.
Here’s what you can do if you're at risk:
- Drink bottled water
- Boil tap water for a minute before drinking it
- Use a special filter to clean your tap water (the label should mention ANSI/NSF 53 or 58 standards, or say “absolute 1 micron”)
Why was this test done? It's a part of a routine check to ensure our water stays safe. The sampling was done on September 19, 2023, and the results came back a week later showing a tiny amount of Crypto in the water. Last month's testing showed no Crypto at all.
What’s happening next? DPW will keep a closer eye on the water and test it more often for Crypto. They'll let us all know about the results of these extra tests.
Where to learn more? There's more info on the CDC website regarding Crypto, how folks with weaker immune systems can stay safe, and guides on water filters.
Additional information can be found at the CDC Website by clicking on any of these:
• General Information for the Public
• General Information for People With Weakened Immune Systems
• Prevention & Control – Immunocompromised Persons
• A Guide to WateFilters