Boil Alert: What to do when a Boil Water Advisory is Issued
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WARNING: Don’t Drink or Cook with the Water
Realizing that you don't have access to clean, safe water for making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, or food preparation is enough to make most of us panic. If anything, it certainly heightens our awareness of how important water is in our everyday activities.
While being told not to cook or bathe with the water coming into our homes is inconvenient, it is NOT an uncommon circumstance.
It's a fact that every year, hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents temporarily lose access to clean, safe water .
Our public water supply is carefully monitored to ensure water regulations are being maintained. For our safety, when a water contamination issue arises, local governments or municipalities issue a “Boil Water Advisory” in which residents are told to boil water for three minutes and then allow it cool prior to using. Failure to properly treat the water may mean that bacteria, viruses or parasites in the contaminated water could cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, headaches and even other more severe symptoms.
Why Are Boil Water Advisories Issued?
Boil water advisories are generally issued when there is concern because of:
- Manufacturing processes
- Sewer overflows
- Low water pressure
- The use of farming pesticides and fertilizers
- Pipe leaks,main breaks or scheduled maintenance
- Major storms or natural disasters
All of these scenarios can leave the public water system vulnerable to impurities leaching in. A copy of your local water quality report is available from your local water provider at " Where You Live: Your Drinking Water Quality Reports".
Solutions When Water Purity Has Been Compromised
The truth is, most of us are unprepared for a Boil Water Advisory. Each boil water advisory situation is different which makes it impossible to predict how long it will remain in effect. The advisory will not be lifted until water testing shows the water quality is in compliance with public health standards.
Some advisories last a few hours and others remain in effect for days and weeks. To prepare for times when you are unable to drink and use the water coming from your tap, you may consider:
- Purchase an ultraviolet disinfection (UV) system: Ultraviolet (UV) is a safe, clean, easy-to-maintain method of assuring that water is free of bacteria. In simple terms, UV technology uses ultraviolet light to clean the water. Ultraviolet disinfection systems have the ability to destroy 99.99% of harmful microorganisms without the use of heat or chemicals and can purify two to 50 gallons of water per minute, depending on the system.
- Store water ahead of time: To prepare for earthquakes, winter storms, or other disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Center for Disease Control recommend every household store at least one gallon of water per person per day. Observe expiration dates and replace the bottles every six months.
- Store unscented liquid household chlorine bleach to disinfect water and use for sanitizing.
- Boil water per directions from the Center for Disease Control.
- Purchase water filtration bottles: If you have access to water, but want to make sure it is clean for drinking, an inexpensive water filtration bottle can filter 120 gallons of water.
- Use purification drops to treat water using chlorine dioxide which can kill bacteria, control the build up of slime and improve the taste of stored water.
UltraViolet (UV) Water Disinfection: Peace of Mind Every Day
Why wait for a boil water advisory or other emergency? Millions of households use UV technology to provide clean, safe drinking water in the home each and every day. UV systems can be installed at the kitchen sink for contaminant-free drinking water or a whole-house UV system (known as a point-of-entry system) can be installed so that every faucet in the home flows with disinfected water.
When it comes to eliminating risk, ultraviolet (UV) technology is engineered to give you peace of mind.