News Flash

Utilities - News

Posted on: December 15, 2020

What is a boil water advisory?

Tips about what to do when a boil water advisory is issued.

If your community or area was issued a boil water notice and you have questions please call The City of Fort Myers Public Works Department at 239-321-8100


A boil water notice is issued by water utilities as a precaution to protect consumers from water that may not be suitable for drinking or ingesting. Boil water notices are typically issued when an unexpected condition has occurred in the public water system. Common reasons for a boil water notice include loss of pressure in the distribution system, water line breaks, treatment disruptions, power outages and floods. The reason for your boil water notice will be included in the notification.

If a boil water advisory is issued for your area, you should use bottled water or boil tap water, due to inconsistencies in the water that flows to your community/area. 

Standard recommendations when you receive a boil water notice advise:

  • Use bottled or boiled water for drinking, and to prepare and cook food.
  • If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute, then allow it to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered.
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator dispenser.
  • For infant feeding, to make formula fully boil water and let cool before mixing. You may also use a ready-to-use formula, if available.

Handwashing

  • In many situations, you can use tap water and soap to wash hands.
  • Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and rinse them well under running water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Bathing and showering

  • Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering. 
  • Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Brushing teeth

  • Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use untreated tap water.

Washing dishes

  • If possible, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory.
  • Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.55°Celsius), or if the dishwater has a sanitizing cycle.
  • Sterilize all baby bottles.
  • To wash dishes by hand:
    • Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.
    • In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.
    • Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.
    • Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.

Laundry

  • It is safe to wash clothes as usual.

Cleaning

  • Use bottled water, boiled water, or water that has been disinfected with bleach (1 teaspoon of unscented liquid bleach for each gallon of water) to clean washable toys and high touch surfaces, such as kitchen counters. 

Caring for pets

  • Provide bottled or boiled water after it has been cooled for pets to drink. 
  • If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute, then allow it to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered.
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such from a refrigerator dispenser.

Caring for your garden and houseplants

  • You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.

INFORMATION AND TIPS ARE FROM THE CENTER OF DISEASE CONTROL WEBSITE. (CDC.gov)

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