ENRI-210 A Boil Water Advisory or a Boil Water Notice By: Densie Hoffman, Linda Heaton, Kim Henken and Jenny Cocanougher Boil Water Advisory Boil water advisories are generally issued when water pressure drops. Repairs to pipes may cause pressure to drop. A boil water advisory means that all water that is to be used for drinking or cooking should be brought to a rolling boil and boiling should be continued for at least 3 minutes. Water not used for drinking or cooking does not necessarily need to be boiled. This means water that is used for bathing or showering or water that is being used to do the laundry. Dishes can be washed as long as you use hot water. Icemakers should be turned off. Bottled water or mouthwash should be used to brush teeth. Bottled or boiled water should be used for baby formula. Unless you are notified otherwise, boil water advisories only last 36 hours from the time they are issued. Boil Water Notice A boil water notice is much more serious than an advisory. It means that all water used for drinking or cooking must be boiled. A boil water advisory is a precautionary measure, but a boil water notice must be followed. A boil water notice means that tests show that bacterial contamination in the water supply is higher than national standards allow. A boil water notice does not mean that the tap will make everyone seriously ill. It just means that the coliform level is higher than allowed by law. It is possible that there are harmful bacteria (pathogens) in the water. The old, the very young, and the sick are most likely to become ill. Symptoms include stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes fever. This material is based on work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under special project number EWQI-10395. Original written April, 1999. Revised February, 2007 by Ashley Osborne, Extension Associate for ENRI.