What is the difference between a boil water advisory and a notice?

“Boil Water Advisory” means an advisory, issued by the public water system, notifying the users of the water system that the water may be contaminated and to boil the water. “Boil Water Notice” means a notice, issued by the public water system, notifying the users of the water system that the water is contaminated and to boil the water.

Why are boil water advisories issued?

Boil water advisories are issued when a water source is shut off, or when a water source pressure level drops below 20 psi. With this loss of pressure, there is a great possibility for water to become contaminated with harmful bacteria.

What determines the length of a boil water advisory?

The results of the water sample tests. When water service is restored, a Lab Analyst comes to the site to take water samples from several points in the affected service area. The samples are allowed to incubate up to 24 hours; no less than 18 hours. If the water is contaminated, bacteria will have grown.

How long must water be boiled prior to consumption?

Vigorously (rolling bubbles) for at least one (1) minute.

I’ve heard water needs to be boiled for longer than one minute, why do you say one?

The latest information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that one minute is more than adequate for killing disease causing organisms.

Why should I boil water prior to consumption?

Boiling the water kills harmful bacteria if water is contaminated.

Do I still need to boil water if I have a filter system on my faucet or refrigerator?

Yes. Water filters are not designed to remove harmful bacteria.

If I consumed water before I knew of the advisory, what will happen?

If you consume water that is proven to be contaminated and you are in good health, you should not become ill. However, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems may become ill.

What are some of the symptoms of being affected by consuming contaminated water?

Symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. If you feel that your health has been compromised, you should seek medical attention.

Are there ways other than boiling to disinfect the water?

In the past, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control have suggested the use of chlorine bleach as a means of disinfecting small quantities of water for drinking or cooking. However, since such treatment will not kill all parasitic organisms, the Department is no longer endorsing the use of such treatment in lieu of boiling the water.

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