Watch: A quick look into boil water notices.
What is a Boil Water Notice?
It’s a notification that advises residents to boil their tap water used for consumption due to the potential for contamination. A Boil Water Notice is in effect until laboratory results show that water is safe from bacterial contamination. The tests usually take up to 24 hours to complete.
Boil water before doing the following:
- Preparing baby formula
- Preparing food
- Washing produce
- Making ice
- Making coffee
- Preparing other drinks
- Brushing your teeth
- Giving pets water
- Use purified water for young children, people with weakened immune systems and people with an open wound.
Water use that does not require boiling beforehand:
- Washing hands
How does SouthWest Water notify customers that a Boil Water Notice is issued?
We will notify you by email, text alerts, on this website, signs within the neighborhood, radio, TV, door tags, and newspaper. We’ll use the same method to notify you the Boil Water Notice is cancelled.
When is a Boil Water Notice issued?
Because delivering clean water is our business, SouthWest Water adheres to stringent water quality testing and monitoring requirements to ensure that every drop of water delivered to your home or business meets or exceeds state and federal health and safety standards.
Sometimes, however, there is a possibility your water has become susceptible to contamination. The occurrences listed below may increase the risk of contaminants entering the drinking water treatment and distribution system:
- A water system completely loses water pressure or the pressure goes below 20 psi (pounds per square inch)
- A pipeline breaks
- A distribution system interruption takes place (whether planned or as a result or man-made or natural disasters, such as hurricanes)
- Water samples indicate the presence of waterborne pathogens
- A cross-connection is discovered that may have contaminated the water supply
- Increased run-off enters the drinking water source (e.g. following heavy rains)
When we issue a Boil Water Notice, testing has generally not yet been conducted to confirm or deny the presence of contamination in your water. Sometimes, the chances of water contamination are not likely, but we don’t want to take any chances with your family’s health. SouthWest Water takes protection of public health very seriously. In most cases, issuing a Boil Water Notice is a precautionary measure for the safety of our customers.
How much does boiling water accomplish?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), boiling is considered the most effective and the safest method of water disinfection. You may find that boiled water tastes rather flat. To get rid of the blandness, aerate it by pouring it back and forth from one container to another and allow it to stand for a few hours, or add a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of water boiled.
What does SouthWest Water do when there is a Boil Water Notice?
We are required to collect samples from the water source (e.g. a well), the original site where contamination may have been found, as well as upstream and downstream of that point, and get them tested for any continuing contamination before we can declare the water clean. Only after satisfactory lab results and, under certain circumstances, an approval from the state’s regulatory agency, can we then lift a Boil Water Notice.