Why are boil water advisories issued?

Boil water advisories are issued when a water source is shut off, or when a water source pressure level drops below 20 psi. With this loss of pressure, there is a great possibility for water to become contaminated with harmful bacteria.

What determines the length of a boil water advisory?

The results of the water sample tests. When water service is restored, a qualified person comes to the site to take water samples from several points in the affected service area. The samples are allowed to incubate up to 24 hours; no less than 18 hours. If the water is contaminated, bacteria will have grown.

How long must water be boiled prior to consumption?

Vigorously (with bubbles) for at least one (1) minute.

Why should I boil water prior to consumption?

Boiling the water kills harmful bacteria if water is contaminated.

What precautions should be taken after a boil water advisory is lifted, if test results reveal that the water was contaminated?

  • Flush water lines by running all cold water faucets in the home for approximately one (1) minute.
  • Flush automatic ice makers by discarding three (3) batches of ice made.
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
  • Run drinking water fountains for one (1) minute.
  • Run water through direct water connections for five (5) minutes.

Do I still need to boil water if I have a filter system on my faucet or refrigerator?

Yes. Water filters are not designed to remove harmful bacteria.

Is water safe for washing dishes, laundry or bathing?

Water is safe for washing dishes, but hot soapy water should be used with one (1) tablespoon of bleach per gallon as a precaution. Dishes should be rinsed in boiled water. There are no restrictions on doing laundry. Water is safe for bathing.

If I consumed water before I knew of the advisory, what will happen?

If you consume water that is proven to be contaminated and you are in good health, you should not become ill. However, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems may become ill.

What are some of the symptoms of being affected by consuming contaminated water?

Symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. If you feel that your health has been compromised, you should seek medical attention.

What should I do for drinking water until the boil water advisory is lifted?

Melt ice in freezer (ice made prior to the advisory).
Boil all water from the tap.


What are other ways to disinfect water for consumption if I can’t boil it?

  • Household Bleach: Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through a clean cloth to allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8th teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented liquid household bleach for each gallon of water. Stir it well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store in clean containers with covers.
  • Granular Calcium Hypochlorite: Add and dissolve ¼ ounce per 2 galls on water. The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximate 500 milligrams per liter. To disinfect water, add 1 pint (16 ounces) of solution to each 12.5 gallons of water to be disinfected. To remove odor, aerate the disinfected water by pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another.
  • Chlorine Tablets: Chlorine tablets containing the necessary dosage for drinking water disinfection can be purchased in a commercially prepared form. These tablets are available from drug and sporting goods stores, and should be used per instructions outlined on the package. When instruction are not available, use one tablets per each quarter or liter of water to be purified.
  • Iodine: You can use common iodine (2% U. S. Iodine) from your medicine cabinet or first aid kit to disinfect contaminated water. Use five drops of iodine per each quart or liter of water. Note: for cloudy water, add 10 drops of iodine per quart or liter of water, and let the solution stand for at least 30 minutes.
  • Iodine Tablets: You can used iodine tablets to disinfect filtered and settled water. Purchase commercially prepared iodine tablets containing the necessary dosage for drinking water disinfection at drug and sporting goods stores. Use as stated in instruction. If instructions are not available, use one tablet for each quart or liter of filtered or settled water.

Does the issuance of a boil water alert mean that the water is definitely contaminated?

No. An advisory means that due to loss of water pressure, there is a possibility that water could be contaminated; therefore, we operate under the precaution that contamination is present until the results of the water sample tests are received.


Other than for consumption, what are other activities where water must be boiled prior to use?

  • Brushing teeth
  • Cooking
  • Preparing drinks
  • Washing raw foods or foods in general
  • Making ice
  • Water for pets
  • In whatever form, if you can consume the water, it must be boiled.

How long should I wait to consume water after it is boiled?

Wait for the water to cool before using it, or store in the refrigerator in a clean container to cool.