What is a boil water advisory and why is it necessary?
A boil water advisory is issued when water contamination by disease-causing organisms is a threat. This can happen for many reasons including, loss of pressure in the distribution system, loss of disinfection, and other unexpected water quality problems. These often result from other events such as water line breaks, treatment disruptions, power outages, and floods.1
Boil water notices can last anywhere from 24-48 hours or longer depending on the cause. Many Houstonians are facing this issue due to water pressure dropping below the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s required minimum of 20 PSI during a power outage on November 27, 2022.
To safely consume water, residents will need to bring tap water to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes and cool before using. Alternatively, bottled water can be used if available. Make sure to use either method for washing dishes, cooking, cleaning baby bottles, brushing teeth, bathing and supplying your pets drinking water. Some dishwashers are programmed to reach 150 degrees, which is acceptable for killing any harmful bacteria.
In order for a boil water advisory to be lifted, lab tests will need to come back confirming there is no presence of harmful pathogens.
How do wastewater treatment plants affect these notices?
This is dependent on the destination of your local wastewater treatment plant’s effluent. Many plants discard treated wastewater to retention ponds, irrigation systems or amenity ponds, which will have no effect on your drinking water.
For more information on this topic, please visit the links below.
We hope all boil water advisories are lifted soon for our friends and family in Houston!