We cannot live without the element of water.

We cannot live without the element of water; however, there are situations when it can become hazardous to our health. How will you know if your water becomes unsafe to drink?

If water becomes contaminated, either with chemicals or bacteria, viruses or protozoa, there are three types of unsafe water notices:

  • Boil Water Notice: The water supply has a microbiological contaminant or a high risk of one that can be made safe by boiling the water.
  • Do Not Drink Notice: The water supply has a contaminant that cannot be made safe by boiling it. Consumers will need to find alternative drinking water sources.
  • Do Not Use Notice: The water supply has an unknown contaminant and exposure to it can make the consumer sick. An alternative drinking water source and avoiding all contact with the water is advised.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifies three categories, or tiers, of public notification:

  1. A Tier 1 notification requires consumers to be alerted within 24 hours by public water suppliers of the detected contamination. Notification will arrive via personal delivery and local multi-media outlets are required to broadcast the alert in the same time frame.
  2. Tier 2 allows for a 30-day notification.
  3. Tier 3 provides an annual notification.

For further information— www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/public-notification-rule

A Boil Water Notice is issued because there is a contaminant in the water, but how did it get there? Water line breaks, water treatment disruptions, power outages, floods, and natural disasters can cause water contamination resulting in a loss of pressure in the distribution system, loss of disinfection, and other water quality problems. For instance, when there is a loss of water pressure, bacteria backwashes into the water pipes. Toxic minerals and viruses may seep into the water supply when a pipe breaks or during a natural disaster.

Boil Water Notices are on the rise. Between 2012-2014 the Water Quality Agency Research Foundation and researchers at the University of Arizona tracked 20,978 notices over 50 states. 99.5% were Boil Water Notices. Also, there are approximately 250,000 water main breaks every year in the United States. That’s 685 breaks per day. Furthermore, there are currently 70 water contamination advisories in Ohio.

To learn more — http://wwwapp.epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/Advisories/advisories.html

If a Boil Water Notice is received, there are guidelines. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), water can be made potable by bringing it to a full rolling boil for at least one minute, and then cool it before use. The notice will instruct the consumer to boil all water used for drinking, cooking, food preparation, brushing teeth, and making ice. Bathing or showering is usually fine; however, don’t ingest the water.

To learn more check out the CDC’s Fact Sheet: What to Do During a Boil Water Advisory (Word DOC).

In our modern-day world there are numerous ways water can become unsafe, and it is our business to help you stay safe. Please, remember that water is a gift, not just something that runs out your faucet.