What does it mean if your area is under a boil water notice?

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – Boil water notices have been in national headlines because of the freezing temperatures in Texas last week. But, how common are they in Brown county?

Brown county has had a couple boil water notices in the last few years.

What does it take to issue one?

Ted Shove of Brown County Health says, “in particular to a boil water notice, that is typically issued when there a positive coliform or E.coli water sample is taken. What it means is because there was a positive sample there is the potential for ingestion of bacteria and especially in terms of e. coli which could be potentially causing other health concerns.”

The minimum requirements for a boil water notice is two bad samples of bacteria. Just one bad water sample of E.coli is enough to trigger a boil water notice.

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What to do?

When there is a boil water notice in place for your area, boil any water you plan to consume to remove any bacteria that contaminated the water. If boiling water is not an option, bottled water is a good substitute.

There was a reason Texas had issues with water contaminations. Shove elaborates, “something like Texas where the water system is not 6 feet underground and is more like 18 inches. Any amount of freeze time can actually crack and expose those pipes to freezing.”

Origins of a boil water notice are a result of Safe Water Drinking Act. This was put into place “to protect against both naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water” (Environmental Protection Agency) . Contamination typically occurs when there is a breakage in a pipe within a water system.

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