Water Boil Alerts 101: What to Know


water boil

We’ve all heard, “don’t drink the water” or “there’s a boil water advisory in effect” at some point in our lives. Been there, done that, not fun. It’s astounding how we can so easily take something for granted until we no longer have access to it. Tap water contamination is no joke; when a “boil water advisory” goes into effect, your local authorities are telling you the tap water may not be safe to drink, brush your teeth with, or even bathe in. We did a little research to give you the necessary information you should have, for the next time you’re faced with a boil water alert.

How does tap water become contaminated?

When a water treatment facility has been compromised, whether due to a power outage, inclement weather, loss of pressure in its water distribution system, water line break, or some other cause, the entire treatment facility’s system could be compromised, and it could lead to your water provider issuing a boil water advisory.

So why is boiling the answer?

  • When there is a possibility a community’s drinking water may be contaminated by pathogens, boiling water guarantees an effective pasteurization temperature will be reached and will kill or incapacitate viruses, bacteria, protozoa and other disease-causing pathogens.
  • In times of “boil water advisories,” the only safe source of water is bottled. If there isn’t access to bottled water, the safest way to purify tap water is by boiling it properly.

So, when will you know your water is safe to drink again? Most times, your water company will notify you – either through an alert, phone call, or sometimes they will place a notice on your mailbox. For now, we’ve got your guide to boiling water.

Guide to Boiling Water

While it’s best to use bottled water during an advisory, if that is not an option, boiling your tap water should kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, making it safe to use. Here are some tips from the EPA:

  • Fill a container with tap water and let it settle
  • Filter it through a clean cloth or paper/coffee filter into a pot
  • Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute (three minutes at higher altitudes)
  • Let the water cool naturally (at least 30 minutes) and store it in clean containers with covers

While a boil water advisory is not something anyone wants to deal with when it comes to drinking safe, clean water, there is a simple solution: purified. At Primo, high-quality, pure water is our mission. Easy access to ice cold, piping hot, or room temperature water is one of the top choices you can make for you and your family. Primo makes it easy for for your family to reach for a healthier choice.


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