Boil Advisory vs. Boil Order
Understanding water quality warnings
WaterOne constantly monitors and tests water quality to ensure the purity of its water. Because of these safeguards, it is rare that water quality is compromised but threats do include backflow from negative system pressure, organic and chemical compounds from source waters, and tampering.
If there is high probability or confirmation of a contamination, WaterOne would notify its customers, regulatory agencies, and community partners, including the media. WaterOne may issue a boil advisory, a boil order, or a do not use water order. Similar to severe weather threats, it's important to understand the meaning of the warning system.
A boil advisory is a precautionary measure issued by the water utility to alert customers when there is a potential for compromised water quality. It is recommended that customers boil all water used in the preparation of food and beverage for consumption for 2 minutes.
A boil order is a confirmation that contamination is present in the water system. It is essential that customers boil all water used in the preparation of food and beverage for consumption for 2 minutes.
This includes water used for:
- Drinking water (including pets)
- Brushing teeth
- Baby formula
- Washing produce
- Preparing food
- Coffee, tea, lemonade, etc.
- Ice cubes should be thrown out
Water used for laundry, showering/shaving, and watering grass or plants is safe to use without boiling.
- FAQs about drinking water advisories (PDF)
- What to do during a drinking water advisory (PDF)
- What to do after a drinking water advisory (PDF)
A "Do Not Use" Water Order
In the worst-case scenario, WaterOne may issue a Do Not Use water order advising customers to not use tap water for any purpose. This would include water for drinking, food prep, personal hygiene (washing hands, brushing teeth, showering), laundry, washing dishes, flushing toilets, outdoor watering, etc. Showering, flushing, and watering outdoors may pose a threat from inhalation under certain conditions.
Thanks to WaterOne's vigilant commitment to safe, pure water, water emergencies are very rare.
How does WaterOne determine that the water is safe to drink and the water advisory can be lifted?
In a declared water emergency, we would collect numerous samples of water throughout our service area and run tests to determine that no contamination is present. It takes WaterOne a minimum of 18 hours after the sample is taken to determine that the water is not contaminated.
WaterOne will follow up with its customers and community partners, including the media, to notify them about the status of the water quality. To receive a personal notification from Notify JoCo, sign up.
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