An alert goes out to residents in which a boil order is in effect for their area. Many residents scramble to understand what a boil order means. A boil order takes effect when a water supplier has tested the water and testing has shown any presence of organisms that can result in an illness. It can also mean there are technical and/or physical problems within the water system that can affect the water with bacterial contamination. A boil order specifically means bacteria containing fecal and/or E. Coli bacteria.
It is recommended to use bottled water or bring a pot of water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes before using. Residents are asked not to use the water for drinking, cleaning fruits and vegetables, or brushing their teeth. When a boil order is in effect, it is highly recommended to not use the tap water for any consumption of water except bathing so long as the water is not consumed. If a person does consume water during a boil order, a person can experience cramps, nausea, diarrhea, headaches and fatigue to name a few. If you are concerned about your health, it is suggested to contact your local health provider.
What if my water supply comes from a private well? Will I need to boil my water? Typically, boil orders are related to municipalities who supply water to a community. If you are ever concerned about your water on a private well, you should have your water tested at a state certified laboratory.
A boil order can last several days to several weeks. It is impossible to know how long a boil order will last based on the situation with the water supplier. This depends on when safe levels of bacterial contamination are no longer present in the water through testing. Your local municipality will notify you when a boil order has been cancelled and the water is safe to consume.