A boil water advisory is issued by officials when the community's drinking water possibly could be or is contaminated by pathogens or compromised to a point where contaminants could enter the system. This advisory is issued within 24 hours of the occurrence to all potentially affected customers as required by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). The advisory may be issued in a general news release and/or notice to individual customers who could be possibly affected.
Under a boil water advisory, it is recommended that water be boiled for several minutes in advance of human consumption or use for food preparation, in order to eliminate as much of the bacteria as possible. A common cause that warrants a boil advisory is a loss of pressure due to a pumping station or main break failure in the distribution system. While loss of pressure does not necessarily mean the water has been contaminated, it does mean that potential pathogenic materials connected to water supply plumbing could be compromised, putting consumers at risk. Again, a boil water advisory does not always mean contaminants have been found, only that conditions have developed that could result in a bacterial contamination.
A boil water advisory can only be lifted after testing confirms that harmful bacteria are not present. This process may require at least 3 or 4 days.
Boil water advisories are a common occurrence for public water systems across the country.