Boil Water Notice FAQ
- A. What is a Boil Water Notice?
It’s a notification that advises residents to boil their tap water used for consumption due to the potential for contamination. A Boil Water Notice is in effect until laboratory results show that water is safe from bacterial contamination.
The City of Murphy will issue a boil water notice, even if there is a very unlikely possibility of drinking water contamination, as a precaution to protect customers. State laws require that a Boil Water Notice is issued if a water system has (or could have) become contaminated from a water line break or loss of system pressure.
- B. Why is the boil water notice important?
Contaminated water may contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some elderly and people with severely compromised immune systems.
- C. How does the City of Murphy inform customers about boil-water notices?
We use a variety of methods to communicate this important information. Typically, Precautionary Boil Water Notice areas are isolated and affect only a small number of customers. In these cases, notification is provided directly to the customers.
However, there are instances when a large-scale Precautionary Boil Water Notice is issued. In these cases, where notices cannot be delivered directly to water customers, the City will post the information on the City of Murphy Website and our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor, RAVE), along with providing information to local media.
The City of Murphy staff diligently calls/knock on doors of businesses, restaurants, schools and health care facilities to let them know about the boil water notice. These same methods are used to notify customers that the boil water notice has ended.
The City of Murphy usually issue precautionary boil water notices for 48 hours, until tests show the system is clear of contaminants. If you received a notice on your door that we have issued an advisory, we will also hand-deliver a door notice notice when we lift the alert. If you did not get a door hanger, but heard about the notice through the news, we will also notify the media when we lift the notice.
The City also uses the RAVE Alert mass notification system to send boil water notices to impacted subscribers during geographically large incidents.
Business and Posting Notices
Businesses and non‐residential sites should take steps, such as posting notices at or disabling, water fountains and ice machines, during the boil water notice. If you provide water to visitors or employees, use a commercially produced bottled water for drinking or beverage preparation. Food service operations should contact their regulatory agency for any additional requirements.
- D. What does boiling water accomplish?
Boiling is considered the safest and most effective method of water disinfection. Vigorous boiling for two minutes will kill any disease-causing microorganisms and parasites present in water.
- E. Why are Precautionary Boil Water Notices issued?
Precautionary Boil Water Notices may be issued because of water system loss of power, loss of water pressure, a water main (pipe) break or another unforeseen emergency. Water pressure keeps pollutants from entering the underground pipes that bring drinking water to your house or business. When the pressure is lost, it is possible that contaminants could seep into the pipes.
The notice does not mean that the water is contaminated — it means it is possible for contaminants to enter the pipes and affect drinking water. Until required bacteriological testing is completed, we recommend — as a precaution — boiling tap water before consuming it to kill any potential contaminants or using bottled water.
- F. What if I accidentally drank tap water before I learned about the Boil Water Notice?
If this happens, don’t panic. The chances of becoming ill are slim. See your doctor if you experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or abdominal cramps.
- G. How long should water be boiled?
Vigorous boiling for at least two full minutes is the safest and most effective method of disinfection. Fill a pot with cold water and start timing when steady streams of bubbles pop from the bottom of the pot. Water must be adequately cooled before it can be used for washing or brushing teeth. Store the boiled water in clean, covered containers. Using bottled water is also an option.
- H. How does boiling water make it safe to drink?
Boiling water purifies it because disease-causing bacteria, viruses or parasites will be destroyed by the heat.
- I. Should I use bottled water?
Water from an alternative water source is the best option during a boil water advisory. When bottled water is available, it is a good alternative to boiling water.
- J. Can I wash my hands in tap water during the notice period?
Use tap water and soap for hand washing and basic hygiene, but if you are washing your hands to prepare food, use bottled or boiled water.
- K. What about brushing teeth?
Use bottled or boiled water to brush teeth.
- L. Can I take a shower?
Yes. Just be careful not to drink the water while you shower or bathe. Though the risk of illness is minimal, individuals who have recent surgical wounds, are immunosuppressed, or have a chronic illness may want to consider using bottled or boiled water for cleansing until the notice is lifted.
- M. What about washing dishes?
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.
Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle.
- N. Can I wash food with tap water?
Fruits, vegetables, and other foods should be washed with bottled or boiled water only.
- O. Can I use tap water for making coffee, tea, lemonade, baby formula, frozen juice, or other beverages?
No. Water intended for drinking must be boiled before using it to make beverages or use bottled water.
- P. Can I use my ice maker during the notice?
Ice already in the freezer when the water pressure drops and before the Precautionary Boil Water Notice is issued is safe. When the notice is issued, turn off your ice maker. Any ice made during the notice should also be disposed of. Allow your icemaker to make three batches of ice and then discard that ice.
- Q. Does a water filter protect me?
Water filters in refrigerators and pitchers do not remove bacteria. For under-sink filters, read the manual. If in doubt, boil.
- R. Is it safe to give water to pets?
Many pets, such as dogs, are susceptible to the same diseases as humans. Provide them with bottled or boiled water.
- S. Can I use tap water to water my grass or garden?
Yes, but fruits and vegetables must be washed using boiled or bottled water before consumption.
- T. If the street next to my street is under a Precautionary Boil Water Notice, will the same precautions apply to me?
No, the notice is issued only to those residences and businesses whose water has the chance of contamination.
- U. When will the Precautionary Boil Water Notice be lifted?
After the water system is repaired, and the pressure is restored in the pipes to your home or business, the Precautionary Boil Water Notice will remain in effect while bacteriological tests are conducted to assure the safety of the water. The notice will be lifted (rescinded) only after the required testing proves the water is safe to drink.
- V. Is there anything I must do after the Precautionary Boil Water Notice is lifted?
Flush the water out of your household pipes, water fountains, etc. prior to drinking or cooking with the water. Let cold water run through the pipes for a few minutes by opening several faucets throughout the house and outside faucets. If you have an automatic ice maker, allow it to make three batches of ice and then discard that ice. Any ice made during the notice should also be disposed of.
- W. Who should I contact with additional questions or concerns?
Please contact the City of Murphy Public Services Department, Public Services Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, (972) 468-4656, or call Police Dispatch, (972) 468-4200.