This fact sheet will help public drinking water suppliers recognize when a boil water notice is needed and what their responsibilities are under State and Federal regulations.
- Protect your Customers
- Consult with your Local Health Department
- Meet the Requirements
- Frequently Asked Questions from Drinking Water Utilities
- Boil Water Notices – Templates for Download
Protect your Customers
- Public drinking water suppliers are responsible to make sure the water they deliver to the public is safe to drink. When there is reason to suspect that water delivered to the public could be contaminated with disease-causing organisms, a boil water notice may be necessary. Timely distribution of accurate, understandable information is essential for your customers’ protection and is required by State and Federal regulation. Attached are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that can help utilities meet the public need and remain in compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Public drinking water suppliers need to be prepared so that effective boil water notices can be distributed quickly to the public, local officials, consecutive (purchasing) water systems, and critical water customers. Pre-prepared boil water notices and up-to-date contact information are key items that will help water suppliers complete this notification. These items must be in the water supply emergency plans that are required for community water systems that serve 3,300 or more people and are highly encouraged for all other water suppliers.
Consult with your Local Health Department
- Conditions that warrant a boil water notice are considered a public health hazard. Whenever conditions arise that may pose a public health hazard, public water suppliers are required to notify their Local Health Department. The Health Department will help determine if a public health hazard is present and provide guidance on appropriate actions. In many cases, a boil water notice can be avoided by immediate corrective action. This could include changing water sources, altering treatment, opening interconnections, isolating water quality problems, using storage, etc. For very small water suppliers, especially non-community systems, this may also include temporarily shutting down until water conditions are acceptable. When a boil water response is needed, the water supplier must distribute a boil water notice to its customers within 24 hours of learning of the conditions that pose the public health hazard. This makes it necessary to consult with the Health Department as soon as possible once these conditions are identified.