FAQs

Why must I boil my water?

A boil order has been issued to your water system because either recent testing has shown the presence of organisms that could cause illness (e.g. fecal or E. coli bacteria), or technical/physical problems in the water system have significantly increased the possibility of bacterial contamination.

Who can be affected?

Anyone who ingests contaminated water may become ill. Infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems are more at risk of illness.

How can I make my water safe?

Boiling the water is the best way to ensure that it is free of illness-causing organisms. Bring water to a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute. When it cools, refrigerate the water in clean containers. (A pinch of salt per quart may improve the rather flat taste of boiled water). If you do not want to boil your water, you can disinfect it by adding 1/8 teaspoon of bleach (common household bleach containing 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water. Do not use bleach containing perfume, dyes, or other additives.

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Is it necessary to boil all water in the home during an advisory or order?

During boil water advisories or boil water orders, you should boil all water used for drinking, preparing food, beverages, ice cubes, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth. It is not necessary to boil tap water used for other household purposes, such as showering, laundry, or bathing. Adults, teens, and older children can wash, bathe, or shower; however, they should avoid swallowing the water. Toddlers and infants should be sponge-bathed.

How should tap water be boiled properly?

Water should be placed in a heat-resistant container and brought to a rolling boil for 1 minute to kill all disease-causing organisms.

I have a water treatment device; do I still need to boil my drinking water?

If the device is designed to improve the taste and odor or chemical quality of the water, such as activated carbon filters, it is still necessary to boil the water. Check with the manufacturer if you are not certain.

Can I use bottled water?

Buying bottled water may be a feasible alternative to boiling water. 

What can I do with my tap water?

Drinking                                  No
Ice Cubes                               No  See below for information.
Brushing Teeth                      No
Baby's Formula                      No
Washing Fruit/Vegetables   No

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What are the symptoms of water-borne illness?

Disease symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea and possible jaundice and associated headaches and fatigue. Symptoms may appear as early as a few hours to several days after infection and may last more than two weeks. These symptoms, however, are not just associated with disease-causing organisms in drinking water; they may also be caused by a number of other factors. If you are ill with these symptoms, contact your health care provider.

What if I drank the water already?

There is nothing you can do about possible exposure you have already received. Most people who drink this water will not get sick. If you become ill, contact your health care provider. Follow the above recommendations about using your water until you are told the water is safe again.

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