Boil Water Advisory: 7 tips on what (and what not) to do from the CDC

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 @ 9:24 PM
By:

Fiza Pirani, AJC,

Digital Staff

What To Do During A Boil Water Advisory

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

— The Dayton Water Department has issued a boil water advisory for Montgomery County following a widespread outage event in the region.

» READ MORE: Boil advisory issued; Montgomery County residents still asked to conserve water

Bryan Taulbee, a public affairs specialist with the City of Dayton, said residents who still have water service are advised to boil water for at least 30 seconds before using or consuming it.

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But what other things should you keep in mind during a boil water advisory? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following tips:

1. Only drink tap water after you’ve boiled it.

When boiling water, fill your pot with water and heat it until you see bubbles reach the top. 

Once you notice a rolling boil, let it continue boiling for one minute before you turn off the heat and let the water cool.

Store the water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

2. Can’t boil your water? Try disinfecting instead.

According to the CDC, if your tap water is clear, you can use unscented household liquid bleach to disinfect your water.

Add one-eighth of a teaspoon of the bleach to one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly and then wait at least 30 minutes before drinking it.

Store the disinfected water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

If your tap water is not clear, use a clean cloth to filter the water.

Then, continue to use unscented household liquid bleach in the same way you used it for clear tap water, but this time, only add one-fourth of a teaspoon of the bleach to the gallon of water.

Again, store the disinfected water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

3. Can you drink water from a water filter or use ice from an ice tray?

You should still boil tap water even if you’re using a water filter. According to the CDC, most water filters don’t remove bacterium or viruses.

And no, do not use the ice in your ice tray. You should throw out all ice made with tap water, including ice in trays, dispensers or ice makers.

Instead, the CDC recommends you make new ice with boiled or bottled water.

4. Cooking food under a boil water advisory

When preparing to cook, wash any food prep surfaces with boiled water.

You can cook to your heart’s content, but be sure to also wash your ingredients with boiled water that has cooled (or use bottled water).

CDC experts recommend using boiled water when preparing beverages like coffee, tea and lemonade.

When you’re ready to wash your dishes, you’re OK to use your dishwasher as long as your appliance reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees (or if your appliance has a sanitizing cycle), according to the CDC.

You can also use hot water mixed with a teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of hot water to hand-wash your dishes.

Just soak the rinsed dishes in the mixed water for at least one minute and let them air dry.

5. Is it safe to take a shower or brush your teeth? 

Of course, but be careful not to swallow any water when doing so and, when brushing your teeth, do not use untreated tap water. Instead, use boiled or bottled water.

If you have a baby or young child, consider giving them a sponge bath.

6. How to feed your baby safely under a boil water advisory

While CDC experts recommend breastfeeding, if that isn’t an option, use ready-to-use baby formula.

Use bottled water or boiled water (or, if you can do neither, disinfect the water using the disinfecting steps above) to prepare powdered or concentrated baby formula.

Be sure to both wash and sterilize the nipples and bottles before feeding.

7. Is the water safe for your pet?

CDC experts recommend abiding by the same guidelines for pets as you would for yourself and your family. Give your adopted fur babies boiled water that has been cooled. 

More about boil water advisory safety at CDC.gov.