- Boil Water Information
Boil Water Information
Please see this information below regarding Boil Water Advisories and Notices from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
What is a Boil Water Advisory? Is it the same as a Boil Water Notice?
Boil Water Advisory
A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is a public statement advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it. Advisories are issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become contaminated.
An advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but rather that it could be contaminated; because the water quality is unknown, customers should assume the water is unsafe to drink and take the appropriate precautions.
Boil Water Notice
An advisory is different from a Boil Water Notice, which is issued when contamination is confirmed in the water system. During a notice, all customers must boil their water before consuming it or use bottled water.
What should I do during a Boil Water Advisory or Notice?
During the Advisory/Notice, you should:
- Boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking (the minute starts when the water begins to bubble). This includes water used for:
- Brushing teeth
- Making ice
- Washing raw foods
- Preparation of drinks
- Water for pets
- Boiling removes harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness.
- Wait for the water to cool before using it, or store it in the refrigerator in a clean container.
- Throw away ice made during the time the advisory or notice was issued, as freezing does not kill bacteria.
Do I still need to boil my water if I have a filter system on my faucet or refrigerator?
Most point-of-use (POU) filters are designed to improve the aesthetics of water (improve taste and odor), not remove harmful bacteria.
You can learn about the capability of your filter by contacting the manufacturer, or NSF International, an independent testing group located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. To reach NSF International, call 800-673-8010 or visit the NSF International website for more information. If in doubt, you should boil your water or use bottled water even if you have a filtering system.
Is the water safe for washing dishes, laundry, bathing, caring for pets or gardens?
- In many cases, you can use tap water and soap to wash hands during a boil water advisory. Follow the guidance from your local public health officials.
- Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Then, rinse them well under running water.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Bathing and showering
- Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.
- Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.
- Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use tap water that you have not boiled first.
- If possible, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory.
- Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if:
- The water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66°Celsius), or
- The dishwater has a sanitizing cycle.
- Sanitize all baby bottles.
- To wash dishes by hand:
- Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.
- In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.
- Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.
- Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.
- It is safe to wash clothes as usual.
- Clean washable toys and surfaces with:
- Bottled water,
- Boiled water, or
- Water that has been disinfected with bleach [PDF – 1 page].
Caring for pets
- Pets can get sick from some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people. Give pets bottled water or boiled water that has cooled.
- If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes). After boiling, allow the water to cool before use.
- Boil tap water even if it is filtered (for example, by a home water filter or a pitcher that filters water).
- Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.
Caring for your garden and houseplants
- You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.