While being told not to cook or bathe with the water coming into our homes is inconvenient, it is not an uncommon circumstance. When Historic City News publishes a “Boil Water Advisory”, you need to know what that means and what you should do.
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.
Our public water supply is carefully monitored to ensure water regulations are being maintained. For our safety, when a water contamination issue arises, local government issues a “Boil Water Advisory” to Historic City News 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.
Boil water advisories will be 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
Each scenario can leave the public water system vulnerable to leaching impurities.
Some advisories last a few hours and others remain in effect for days. To prepare for times when you are unable to drink and use the water coming from your tap, you may consider:
- Storing water ahead of time.
- 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.
- 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.
- Purchase and store 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.
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.
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.
The advisory will not be lifted until water testing shows the water quality complies with public health standards.