Why are Precautionary Boil Water Notices issued?

Precautionary Boil Water Notices may be issued because of water system loss of power, loss of water pressure, a water main (pipe) break or other unforeseen emergency. Water pressure keeps pollutants from entering the underground pipes that bring drinking water to your house or business. When the pressure is lost, it is possible that contaminants could seep into the pipes.

The notice does not mean that the water is contaminated  — it means it is possible for contaminants to enter the pipes and affect drinking water. Until required bacteriological testing is completed, we recommend — as a precaution — boiling tap water before consuming it to kill any potential contaminants, or using bottled water.

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1. Why are Precautionary Boil Water Notices issued?
2. What if I accidentally drank tap water before I learned about the Precautionary Boil Water Notice?
3. How long should water be boiled?
4. How does boiling water make it safe to drink?
5. Should I use bottled water?
6. Can I wash my hands in tap water during the notice period?
7. What about brushing teeth?
8. Can I take a shower?
9. What about washing dishes?
10. Can I wash food with tap water?
11. Can I use tap water for making coffee, tea, lemonade, baby formula, frozen juice, or other beverages?
12. Can I use my ice maker during the notice?
13. Does a water filter protect me?
14. Is it safe to give water to pets?
15. Can I use tap water to water my grass or garden?
16. If the street next to my street is under a Precautionary Boil Water Notice, will the same precautions apply to me?
17. When will the Precautionary Boil Water Notice be lifted?
18. How is the public notified?
19. Is there anything I must do after the Precautionary Boil Water Notice is lifted?