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What is a boil advisory?

Don't Drink the Water

When you hear “water boil advisory” on the radio or television, you may be unfamiliar with the term or unsure what it means for you — we want to alleviate your concern by giving you the steps you need to take to ensure your family is safe.

What is a water boil advisory?

A boil water advisory comes from your local water management officials, and it serves to let the customers know that they need to boil their tap water before consuming it.

Typically something has impacted the water quality, whether a natural event or issues with the water plant and the water is unsafe to drink.

Where can I find New Hampshire advisories?

Our state has a webpage where you can view all active and expired advisories. Typically, you’ll hear clarification if it’s a mandatory boil or a precautionary boil. Both still mean that you need to bring the water to a rolling boil before drinking or consuming it. The only difference is that the information that the water department is working with is different. Here’s what you need to know about both.

Precautionary Water Boil Alert

A precautionary boil alert is issued when the water lines have lost water pressure, leading to potential contaminations in the distribution system. This may have been caused by something like a break in the main. Your town or city officials will release this while collecting samples and confirming whether or not your water is negatively affected.

Mandatory Water Boil Alert

This advisory occurs when the city or town knows that the water is contaminated. You must boil the water to eliminate bacteria or other organisms until the notice is lifted, which usually happens after the water has tested pure for at least two days in a row.

What to do when you have a boil advisory.

If your town is under an advisory, do not drink the tap water without boiling it first. This also impacts making ice, cleaning your dishes, brushing your teeth, and cooking your food. If you have young children who may drink the water in the shower or the bath, be conscious of their wash time. To stay safe, you must —

  1. Bring a pot to a rolling boil for one minute.
  2. Let it cool before using.

Here are some things that you can do to help keep your family safe —

  • Use bottled water for drinking and washing your fruits and veggies and food preparation.
  • Give your pets boiled or bottled water.
  • Throw away the ice cubes in your refrigerator and shut off the water until the advisory is lifted.
  • When showering, be sure you do not ingest any water.
  • Keep your cuts covered. Don’t let the contaminated water touch an open wound.

Can my Water Filtration System Ensure Pure Water During a Boil Water Advisory?

If you have a point-of-use filter or even a regular whole home water filtration unit, it will not adequately rid your water of bacteria or contamination during an emergency boil advisory—but there is an alternative to boiling your water! UV purification is a safe, affordable, and effective way to rid your water of the dangers from bacteria, viruses, mold, etc. If you are uncertain as to what type of water filtration system you have, be sure to boil your water as a precautionary measure.

NOTE: In case of a power outage, be sure to have a generator to back up the power source for your UV purification system!

When Will My Water Be Safe Again?

Your public health department will notify you if the boil water notice is lifted, and you can also check the government website to see if your water quality is restored. Once your water quality is fixed, it’s a great idea to flush your system, which just means running water for about 5 minutes to ensure everything dangerous is cleared out.

We hope that if you’re currently going through a boil advisory, that your family stays healthy! And if you’re dealing with consistent water quality issues, consider reaching out to our team today to learn more about your options for a water purification system!


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