If you live in an area that is susceptible to water contamination, it is important to be aware of the possibility of a boiled water advisory being issued by public health or local authorities. A boiled water advisory is a precautionary measure that advises people to boil their drinking water before consuming it to avoid the risk of contamination from chemicals or pathogens that may be present in the water. These advisories are also often issued after many types of disasters that can make local water unsafe. These include floods, severe weather, and earthquakes.
What is a Boiled Water Advisory?
Boiled water advisories are usually issued in response to a risk of contamination in the local water supply. The cause of the contamination could be due to a broken water main, an increase in turbidity (cloudiness) in the water, or presence of a chemical or pathogen. Boiled water advisories are often issued in cases where the source of contamination is unknown.
It is important to note that a boiled water advisory is not the same as a water boil order, which is a more severe warning that indicates that the water supply is not safe to consume even if it is boiled. If a water boil order is issued, it is important to seek alternative sources of drinking water until the water supply is confirmed safe again.
The duration of a boiled water advisory will depend on the type of contamination and the severity of the risk. In some cases, it may only last a few hours, while in others, it could last for days or even weeks. It is important to follow the advice of your local authorities and continue to boil your water until the advisory is lifted.
Can You Shower During a Boiled Water Advisory?
One common question is whether it is safe to shower. The answer is yes, it is safe to shower during a boiled water advisory. While showering, be careful not to ingest any of the shower water to keep the risk of contamination low. Be aware that water droplets from the shower can travel through the air and land on other surfaces, so it is important to clean any surfaces that may have come into contact with the water.
Can You Brush Your Teeth During a Boiled Water Advisory?
No, do not use tap water to brush your teeth during a boiled water advisory. Use bottled or boiled water in place of tap water for this, and any other hygiene practice that involves putting water in your mouth.
Can I Drink Water From My Fridge?
Many people wonder if they can still drink water from their fridge during a boiled water advisory. The answer is yes, you can drink water from your fridge or ice maker, but only if the water has been boiled before it entered the fridge. If you are unsure if the water has been boiled, it is best to err on the side of caution and use bottled or boiled water instead.
Can I Wash Dishes During an Advisory?
It is also common to wonder if you can still wash dishes during an advisory. The answer is yes, but with some precautions. It is important to make sure the water has been boiled before using it. If possible, it is best to use disposable plates and utensils to minimize the risk of contamination.
What to Do After a Boiled Water Advisory
Once a boiled water advisory is lifted, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure the water is safe to drink. This includes flushing out the water system and running the taps for a few minutes before drinking or using the water. Additionally, it is important to clean any surfaces that may have come into contact with the water.
What Precautions Should You Take During a Boiled Water Advisory?
It is important to take certain precautions to minimize the risk of contamination. These include:
- Boiling water: Boil all water used for drinking, cooking, and brushing your teeth for at least one minute. Let the water cool before using it.
- Using bottled water: Use bottled water for drinking, cooking, and brushing your teeth if you cannot boil water. Make sure the bottled water has not been exposed to flood waters or other contaminants.
- Avoiding ice: Do not use ice made from tap water. Make ice using boiled or bottled water.
- Disinfecting dishes: Disinfect dishes and other surfaces that come into contact with tap water. Use a solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Let dishes air dry after disinfecting them.
- Using hand sanitizer: Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoiding swallowing water: Avoid swallowing any water while showering or bathing. If you accidentally swallow water, spit it out immediately.
How to Prepare for a Boiled Water Advisory
While these advisories are often issued without warning, there are steps you can take to be prepared in case of an advisory. These include:
- Storing water: Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Store the water in a cool, dark place and replace it every six months.
- Having a supply of emergency water: Keep a supply of emergency water on hand for emergencies. Store enough for at least three days.
- Having a supply of non-perishable food: Keep a supply of non-perishable food on hand for emergencies. Store enough for at least three days.
- Having a supply of medication: Keep a supply of medication on hand for emergencies. Store enough for at least three days.
- Having a plan: Have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Make sure all family members know what to do in case of a boiled water advisory.
In conclusion, boiled water advisories are an important precautionary measure that is put in place to protect the public from contaminated water. During a boiled water advisory, it is important to follow the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of contamination. By being prepared and following the advice from your local authorities, you can help ensure the safety of your drinking water.