Boil Water Advisories Questions and Answers

To assist in the understanding boil water advisories, below are a number of questions and answers. Should you require additional information please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 304.292.8443 or emailing

Please note that the Center for Disease Control maintains an excellent website with advice on how to respond to a boil water advisory. This includes what activities may be safe and what to avoid. You can find the site by clicking here.

The below information refers solely to instances in which a boil water advisory has been issued.

Can I opt-in to ensure that I receive boil water notifications?

Yes you can. Please see the form at the bottom of this page and indicate your preference. If opting in, be sure to include a telephone number at which we can reach you. Also, please note that we may still contact you if a water emergency occurs and the local emergency broadcast system is activated.

What are boil water notifications (BWA) and why?

Boil water advisories are strictly precautionary measures. They do not indicate the existence of water quality issues or emergencies. Similarly, our decision to issue advisories does not reflect any sort of change in our water treatment practices. Our water treatment practices will remain wholly consistent with the highest industry standards.

The purpose of boil water advisories is to further safeguard public health. MUB will issue them in response to planned service disruptions because when a loss of pressure occurs, there is a possibility that contaminants can be introduced into the distribution system. Boiling water destroys any disease-causing microorganisms (pathogens) that may be in the water, making the water potable after cooling.

How long should I boil the water?

Bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute. After boiling, allow the water to cool before use.

What should I do when a BWA is issued?

The most important thing is to not consume the water or use it for cooking without boiling it for one minute and allowing it to cool. This includes using it for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms, if present, in the water.

When will BWAs be issued?

MUB issues boil water advisories in response to service disruptions causing, or that are expected to cause, a loss of substantial water pressure or a disruption in water service.

How will the public be notified of a BWA?

Boil water advisories will be targeted to those affected as precisely as possible. This means that it is possible that one person may receive a notice while a neighbor across the street may not. Those affected will be notified via text or voice message; however, notices may include email, door hangers, or letters.

How do we know the water is safe following a BWA?

Upon completion of the work that triggered the boil water advisory, MUB will test and analyze the water to ensure its safe. This testing will require a minimum of 24 hours to complete. When test results indicate that the water meets drinking water standards, those affected will be notified.

Do I still need to boil the water if I have a water filter in my home?

Yes. You should boil the water even if your home is equipped with a filtration system or you use other home water filtration devices.

Is it safe to take a shower or bath?

Yes, it is safe to take a bath or shower, but be careful not to swallow any water. Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Can I use water from the tap to brush my teeth?

No. Use water that has been boiled for one minute and cooled or bottled water.

What about shaving?

Yes, you can shave as usual.

What about doing laundry?

Yes, it is safe to do laundry as usual.

Can I use my dishwasher or wash my dishes by hand?

The best practice is to use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory. However, you can use your household dishwasher if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66°Celsius) or the dishwater has a sanitizing cycle. To wash dishes by hand, wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water. In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of household liquid bleach (unscented if you have it) for each gallon of warm water. Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute. Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.

Can I use the water to wash my hands?

Yes, you can. Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds using warm water. Then, rinse your hands well under warm running water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Can I still give the water to my pets?

No. According to the CDC, pets can get sick from some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people. Give pets bottled water or boiled water that has cooled.

Can I use the water for cleaning?

Clean washable toys and surfaces with boiled water or water that has been disinfected with bleach. You can get CDC guidance on disinfecting with bleach by clicking here.

Can I use the water on plants inside or outside the home?

Yes, you can use the water as you normally would for watering plants.

I already drank the water. Will I get sick?

Remember, boil water advisories are strictly precautionary measures. They do not indicate water quality issues or emergencies. If you happened to drink the water during a boil water advisory, it is very unlikely you will become ill. This is especially true given the high quality of MUB’s drinking water and disinfectant processes. In the very slight chance that you do become ill, the symptoms might include nausea, diarrhea, cramps, and possibly a mild fever. If you have concerns regarding your health, please contact your physician.

Water discoloration

Discolored water can sometimes occur when water service is restored. This problem can typically be solved by running your faucet on cold at the lowest point of the house until the water runs clear, which may take 10-15 minutes. If your water doesn't clear the first time, wait a few minutes and repeat this process. You should also remember to avoid washing clothes until the water clears. If your water still does not clear after taking these steps, please call MUB at (304) 292-8443.

Get notified

If you wish to be notified via text or voice message please be sure that we have the correct and most updated information for your account by completing this form.