What to know about the US ban on ‘boil water’
The United States has temporarily banned all use of boiling water as a source of drinking water, the country’s water regulator said on Wednesday.
The order comes a day after the EPA, the US’s largest water regulator, ordered states to ban water use to meet its stringent water quality standards.
It came amid the latest in a series of incidents in the US that has raised concern about contamination of drinking-water supplies.
The ban came in response to a request from the Trump administration to Congress, which is currently investigating whether the EPA exceeded its authority in the past to limit the amount of water the US can use.
The move came as a result of a letter by the EPA to the governors of New York and California, in which it warned that it could take years for the agencies to implement the rule, Reuters news agency reported.
“We will not allow this country to become the laughing stock of the world for the continued use of a toxic, non-renewable resource,” the letter said.
“It is imperative that the Trump Administration immediately implement the ban.”
The order, which came from the Office of Management and Budget, also states that all federal agencies will have to notify local governments of the ban.
It came after the US Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the water rules, said that the agency had received thousands of complaints of illnesses related to the use of boil water in the state of New Mexico.
Officials in New Mexico said on Tuesday that about 100 cases of gastroenteritis and an outbreak of respiratory illnesses had been reported in the town of Pecos, in the northern state.
Authorities said the state had also received more than 500 calls related to drinking-wastewater pollution from the use, although the EPA has not yet released figures.
Water-intensive crops such as corn and rice have also been implicated in poisoning.
A report released last week by the US Geological Survey found that more than 2.7 billion gallons of water had been discharged from US wells in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.
In a statement, the EPA said it had received numerous reports of drinking problems and a number of outbreaks of waterborne illnesses linked to use of boiled water.
“In response to these concerns, the agency has temporarily suspended the use and sale of boil-water products,” the agency said.
“In addition, the use or sale of these products will not be permitted until further notice.”
The US Environmental Protection Agency has also asked states to stop using boiling water to meet drinking water standards.
The EPA has said that it had identified 2.5 billion gallons (8.5 trillion litres) of water that was not being used to meet the US standards for drinking water.