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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Mandatory Boil Water Notice

Florida Department of Health - Hillsborough County

Mandatory Boil Water Notices, also known as Tier 1 Notices, are issued when a contamination is confirmed in the drinking water systems. Customers are instructed to boil the water to kill bacteria and other organisms, until the issue is resolved and the notice can be lifted.  Boiling water kills or inactivates viruses, bacteria, protozoa and other pathogens by using heat to damage structural components and disrupt essential life processes (e.g. denature proteins).  Boil water notices should NOT be used as a response to high levels of chemicals in drinking water, nor for water that is heavily contaminated with sewage.

Public Water suppliers are required to notify FDOH-Hillsborough County as soon as possible when a contamination is confirmed and a Tier 1 Mandatory Boil Water Notice must be issued to their customers within 24 hours of learning of the conditions that pose the public health hazard. The notice must include what happened, when it happened, whether to use an alternate source of water, the population that may be at risk, what actions to take, what the utility is doing to correct the problem and a contact name and phone number.

The public notice must be delivered by either radio, television, hand or direct delivery, posted in conspicuous locations or any method approved, in writing, by our office.  This will remain in place until corrective actions have been taken and sampling show there is no contamination in the water supply.  A mandatory boil water notice cannot be lifted without approval from the FDOH-Hillsborough County Safe Drinking Water Program.

Bring all water to a rolling boil, let it boil for one minute, and cool before using; or use bottled water. You should use boil or bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and food preparation until you are notified that the advisory has been lifted.

We also recommend the following steps:

• Throw away uncooked food or beverages or ice cubes if made with tap water during the day of the advisory
• Keep boiled water in the refrigerator for drinking
• Do not swallow water while you are showering or bathing
• Provide pets with boiled water after cooling
• Do not use home filtering devices in place of boiling or using bottled water; Most home water filters will not provide adequate protection from microorganisms
• Use only boiled water to treat minor injuries;  When showering or bathing, avoid allowing the water to come in contact with an open wound
• Do not wash salad items with tap water during the period; Use bottled water or freshly boiled and cooled tap water

After the mandatory boil water notice has been lifted, you should flush household pipes, ice makers, water fountains, etc. prior to using for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes. Follow these guidelines for flushing:

• Run all cold water faucets in your home for one minute at one time with the highest water flow possible to prevent splashing or flooding of the drains
• To flush automatic ice makers, make three batches of ice and discard
• Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.  Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines specified in the owner’s manual
• Run drinking water fountains for one minute at the highest flow rate possible
• Change refrigerator filters