A boil water directive is a notification made by emergency services, municipal water system operators or government agencies or departments advising people who share a specific water source that the water has been contaminated with some form of bacteria. A boil water directive advises people to boil the contaminated water prior to use. This action will make it safe for drinking or food preparation. Public notification of a boil water directive is made to ensure that every user of the affected water system has information about the possible contamination of their water source.
A boil water directive may be issued based upon a number of critical factors. These critical factors may include but are not limited to the following:
1. The presence of fecal Coliform, a bacterial contamination due to raw sewage.
2. Evidence of a suspected source of contamination for a municipal water supply.
3. Flood waters that are near or over the source of the municipal water supply.
4. Actual contamination of the municipal water source that has been verified.
5. When a disaster such as a flood or an earthquake has contaminated water sources when sewage systems or water supply lines are damaged or broken.
Instructions for a Boil Water Directive
1. Filter or strain the water through either cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or any type of clean, porous material to remove as many solid particles and as much dirt as possible.
2. Bring the water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute or longer.
3. Allowed the boiled water to cool.
4. Place the boiled water in a container that has been boiled or sanitized with a chlorine bleach solution.
5. Refrigerate the water, if possible, to help preserve its quality until ready to use.
Contaminated water sources can cause serious illnesses and you should be prepared in advance should your water source become contaminated. You will do well to have a safe supply of water stored in advance just in case.
Be aware. Be informed. Be prepared.