To Boil Or Not To Boil—It’s Not A Question

We’ve all been there before: a boil order is released and suddenly we begin to rethink every time we’ve come in contact with water over the last 72 hours. And while the likelihood of that happening is relatively low, it is still incredibly important to take a boil order seriously.

So What Causes A Boil Order?

A boil order is issued whenever a potential threat to the quality of safe drinking water is threatened. Causes can range from a water main break, a drop of system pressure in the water distribution system, or the detection of harmful pathogens in the water. Anytime the safety of our water is jeopardized, a boil order should be issued.

What Do You Do When A Boil Order Is Issued?

It is important to know the proper protocol for making sure you have safe, clean drinking water.

All water used for drinking and cooking should be boiled for at least one minute before using to ensure that all harmful bacteria is eliminated. If boiling at a higher altitude, increase boil time to three minutes.

If you do not have the ability to boil your water, you can disinfect your water by mixing one-quarter teaspoon of unscented bleach per gallon of water and allowing the mixture to sit for 30 minutes before using.

Other Useful Tips:

  • Brush your teeth only with boiled, disinfected or bottled water.
  • Do not make or use ice with unfiltered water.
  • Shower as you normally would, just be mindful not to get too much water in your mouth or eyes.
  • Laundry washing machines and dishwashers can be run as normal.
  • Make sure pets are also given filtered drinking water.
  • Do not use any appliance features hooked up to water lines, such as refrigerator ice and water dispensers.
  • Continue to follow boil order protocols until the boil order has been lifted.

We know that a boil order can be an inconvenience, but it is always in your best interest to proceed with caution when your water may be unsafe. Make sure you share these tips with your friends and neighbors to make sure that they are all educated on boil order water safety.