With & Without an Existing Filter System
A Boil Water Notice (BWN), also known as a Boil Water Advisory, is issued by a municipality’s public warning system when known or suspected microbial contaminants are in your drinking water distribution. This notice may be issued in response to known leaks or breaks in pipes or water mains. It may also be a precautionary measure from low pressure in pipes, power outages, sewage leaks or potential issues caused from severe weather.
Bacteria, viruses and protozoa are the common contaminants during a BWN. These microbials are rarely life-threatening, but they can make you very sick. Younger children, elderly people and those with weak immune systems are most at risk. Boiling your water will neutralize these concerns.
A BWN may include information on how to prepare food, precautions for cleaning and how to handle your own hygiene with water. Some activities may require boiled water and some may not. The notice will direct you. These notices will also confirm when concerns will be lifted. Don’t forget, during these times, always keep your furry friends in mind!
How does a BWN differ from a Do Not Drink or Do Not Use notice?
A Do Not Drink or Do Not Use notice may indicate chemical contamination and advises consumers to find completely alternative drinking and working water sources. During these notices—boiling water will NOT make it safe to use or drink. These types of notices advise consumers to avoid all contact with their water supply.
How to Respond to a BWN.
After a BWN has been issued, use bottled water or begin boiling your water right away – according to the notice. When boiling, bring water to a full rolling boil for at least 1 to 3 minutes, depending on your altitude, to guarantee harmful microorganisms are destroyed. Allow water to cool naturally, and safely store it in clean, covered containers. Keep in mind, boiling water will remove bacteria, viruses and protozoa from water, but it will not eliminate other contaminants, like heavy metals, salts and chemicals.
City BWN — Without Existing Filter System.
During a Boil Water Notice, it’s important that you only drink or use boiled water, disinfected water or bottled water. This includes water used for making ice, cleaning produce, brushing teeth, mixing baby formula and providing water for pets, to name a few precautionary situations. You must follow the instructions of the notice until it has lifted.
City BWN — With Existing Basic Filter System.
General water filters including activated carbon, charcoal and pitcher filters, will not remove microbial contaminants from your water. You must still boil or disinfect your water or use bottled water according to the notice and until it has been lifted.
City BWN — With Existing RO Filter System.
Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are not specifically designed for biological contaminant removal, but they can reduce concerns. As long as your RO system is working properly, it will act to clear these microbials, and you may not need to boil your water in the short term. It’s recommended that you replace all filters and pre-filters and have the system and storage tank cleaned after the notice is lifted. If the BWN lasts for longer than a day, you may need to sanitize the RO membrane as well. If there is any question on whether your RO system is functioning optimally, you need to boil your water. Do not take a chance. RO systems can act as that initial preventative barrier.
City BWN — With Existing Kinetico K5 RO Filter System + Purefecta.
If you have a Kinetico K5 RO system with a Purefecta Virus/Bacteria Guard in place, this may also eliminate your need to boil water during a short-term BWN. The Purefecta was specifically built to add protection against waterborne viruses, bacteria and protozoa/cysts. It has been tested and Certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA). This medical-grade virus and bacteria guard generates “biopure” drinking water. It is still recommended that you clean your filters, membrane and entire system after the notice is lifted. And you must boil your water if there is any concern about your RO system not working properly.
Have we told you about the add-on UV filter for even more protection?
What About Well Water Concerns?
If your home is supplied by well water, you need to test regularly for any contaminants. This includes monitoring for leaks, breaks and any concerns from natural disasters that may cause seepage into your well. Fortunately, and unfortunately, you are your own warning system. And regular maintenance and testing is handled by you or someone you bring in. If you suspect or test high levels of microbial contaminants in your water, stop using your well. Have a well and pump contractor inspect right away.
As with city water, disinfecting your well does not provide protection from pesticides, heavy metals and other types of non-biological contamination. A whole-home or point-of-use RO system with specific filters can act as a treatment measure for working and drinking water.
What To Do After a Notice Has Lifted.
After a Boil Water Notice has lifted, it is important to clean, flush and/or replace all that has come in contact with the contaminated water:
- Discard food, beverages and ice that was made with the contaminated water.
- Flush appliances connected to the water line including refrigerator and ice maker.
- Flush pipes and all taps including cold and hot.
- Replace filters and pre-filters and water filters in pitchers.
- Flush and clean RO tanks, systems and possibly sanitize RO membrane.
- Clean or replace any items that were in contact with the water.
Next, consider getting an RO system installed to create a preventative barrier for the future. Learn more about the specialty filters that can be added on as an extra line of defense between contaminants and your loved ones.
Get A Drinking Water Filter, PLUS.
Whether your water is supplied by the city or by a well, it is important to know what concerns you may be facing – before it happens. Contaminants may get through before a BWN does. And, as mentioned, boiling water does not eliminate the other heavy metals, salts and chemicals that may be in your supply. Contact Gordon Bros. Water to have your specific location tested for FREE. Get a FREE quote and learn more about the Kinetico K5 RO system with Purefecta Virus/Bacteria Guard and UV Filter, the final barrier of protection, add-on options. We can help provide you with the #BestWaterOnTap at a specific point of use and the #BestWorkingWater for your whole home.
If you have any questions why a BWN has been issued, consult the municipality, water district or regulatory agency that has oversight for your water system. In some cases, the BWN may only apply to specific portions of that distribution area.