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Precautionary Boil Water Notice

Environmental Health

A precautionary boil water notice is issued to protect consumers when it is possible that drinking water has been contaminated by microorganisms that can cause illness (i.e. germs or pathogens). Common reasons for a boil water notice include loss of pressure in the water distribution system, loss of disinfection, and other water quality concerns caused by other events such as water line breaks, power outages and floods.

The Florida Department of Health has issued Guidelines for the issuance of precautionary boil water notices to protect the public from exposure to drinking water contaminants that may have entered a drinking water distribution system during this events. These guidelines address what actions to take for instances of loss of power, natural disasters, microbiological contamination, low pressure and water line breaks.
A public water system can issue its own precautionary boil water notice using these guidelines, but the FDOH-Hillsborough County office and the public must be notified no later than 24 hours after the water system learns of the situation.

Methods of delivery include, telephone, emails, hand delivery or in large service areas, you may need to issue a press release.

A precautionary boil water notice must be include:

  • The Name of the Water system
  • Geographical area affected (such as streets, or city limits)
  • Description of the problem and date it occurred
  • Any corrective measure customers must take, such as boiling the water
  • Include a statement indicating that consumers will be officially notified that the notice is lifted after satisfactory microbiological samples results are received
  • Include a phone number for consumers to direct questions

You can also include a the link to ourFAQs about Boil Water Notices

In order to lift or rescind a boil water notice, the water system must collect representative satisfactory bacteriological samples for two consecutive days.  Water systems should consult with their regulatory agency to determine the number of samples required.

Templates are available for Precautionary Boil Water Notices and the Rescission of a Boil Water Notice

Any food establishment, such as restaurants or convenience stores must follow the Boil Water Notice Guidelines listed in the Industry Bulletin for Florida’s Food Industry.