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Water Information

High water and flooding has potential to result in well contamination and/or compromised septic systems.  Don't wait until after it happens.  Get informed now about what to do if this happens to you.

Clean drinking water is important for your family's health.  There are several potential causes of problems with your water supply.  Flooding or aging infrastructure are two examples.  (Scroll down for information on private wells.)

Boil Water Advisories -
Frequently Asked Questions

 I already drank the water. Will I get sick?  Most people who drink this water will not get sick. If you do get sick, the symptoms are similar to food poisoning: nausea, diarrhea, cramps, and possibly a mild fever.

What should I do if I have symptoms?  The most important thing to do is avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid drinks with caffeine, such as soda, coffee, and tea. If you are concerned about your health or the health of a family member, contact your health care provider.

What kind of contamination might be in the water?  Many types of microbes could be in the water. Water systems are concerned about bacteria (E. coli), viruses (norovirus), and parasites (Cryptosporidium). Human illness from these microbes is usually caused by eating raw or undercooked food, recreational or other untreated water, or poor hand-washing. Diarrheal illness from these microbes is not usually life threatening, except in the elderly, the very young, or those with weak immune systems. If you are concerned, consult your health care provider. 

During a boil order, how can I make my household water safe to use?    Fill a pot with water and heat it to a rolling boil.  Let it continue to boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat source and let the water cool. Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage.

What about preparing and cooking food?    Foods should be washed, prepared, and cooked only with bottled water or water that has been boiled according to the instructions above.  Use boiled water to prepare drink such as coffee, tea, and lemonade. 

Is filtered water safe?    Boil tap water even if it is filtered. Water filters do not remove bacteria or viruses.

How should I feed my baby?     Breastfeeding is best. Continue to breastfeed. If breastfeeding is not an option, use ready-to-use formula if possible.  If you must use powdered or concentrated formula, mix it with bottled or boiled water.  Wash and sterilize bottles and nipples in safe (bottled or boiled) water before use. If you cannot sterilize bottles, try to use single-serve, ready-to-feed bottles.

Is the ice in my freezer safe to use?    Do not use ice from ice trays, ice dispensers, or ice makers. Throw out all ice that was made with unboiled tap water.  Make new ice with boiled or bottled water. 

Can I use my coffee maker, ice maker, or water or soda dispenser?    Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water lines. This includes water and ice dispensers in your refrigerator/freezer. Use boiled or bottled water to make coffee and ice.  Filters do not remove or kill bacteria or viruses.  When the boil water advisory is lifted, consult the owner’s manual and sanitize appliances. 

Is it safe to take a bath or a shower?     Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering. Consider giving infants and young children a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.  Adults with compromised immune systems should contact their healthcare providers with questions about bathing during the boil water order.

What about brushing teeth and shaving?    Use only bottled or boiled water for brushing teeth.  You can shave as usual.

What should I do with my used plastic water containers?    Save your gallon containers to be refilled with clean boiled water or to refill at your community's water dispensing site (if a dispensing site has been set up).  If you feel you need to wash them, make sure you use the dishwashing precautions listed below.  Smaller empty plastic bottles with lids removed can be brought to the dispensing site to be recycled. 

How should I wash my dishes?    Dishwashers are safe to use if the water reaches a temperature of at least 160 degrees or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle.

To wash dishes by hand:

1.      Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.

2.      In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household bleach for each gallon of warm water.

3.      Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.

4.      Let the dishes air dry completely.

Do I need to do my laundry differently?  It is safe to do laundry using regular methods.

Should I give boiled water to my pets?   Pets can get some of the same diseases as people. It is a good idea to give them boiled water that has been cooled. Most germs that infect people do not infect reptiles or fish. If your water system is using more chlorine or changing disinfection, be cautious about changing the water in your fish tank or aquarium. Contact your local pet store or veterinarian for more advice.


Private Wells

To be proactive, domestic well water should be tested every six months to ensure safe drinking water. The resources listed below
are gathered from a variety of sources and provided for your
 general information on this topic. 

Emergency Well Disinfection Video






Linda Smith,
Oct 31, 2013, 3:29 PM
Linda Smith,
Oct 31, 2013, 2:58 PM