Boil Water Order and Advisory Guidelines
What is a boil water
A boil water order is issued by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
to public water systems when a microbiological threat to the public health
exists, or is likely to exist, that can be remedied by boiling the water.
(For chemical contamination, boiling may only concentrate the contaminant
or expose consumers to more by inhaling it.)
What is a boil water
A public water system may issue a boil water advisory when there is
concern a problem with drinking water may exist, but it has not yet been
confirmed. This may be done, for example, while waiting for results of
confirmation samples collected for bacteriological analysis, which can
take up to two days plus the time required to transport samples to the
Who will notify me to
boil my drinking water?
It is the responsibility of the water system to
notify its customers. Notification varies, depending on whether the
system is classified as a community or non-community. Community
public water systems pipe water directly to residences; these
typically alert their customers by notifying area media, directly
distributing notices and posting in logical places. Non-community
systems serve customers in a non-residential setting, such as a
restaurant, hotel or business that has its own well on site and
dispenses this water to customers or employees; this type of public
water system is required to post the notice for a boil order near
the entrance or in a common area.
What role does DNR play
in notifying the public?
To assist water systems in reaching their customers, DNR frequently
notifies area media of boil water orders at community systems and provides
all public water systems with the needed information to distribute and
precautions should I take if my water system is under a boil water order
Boil water vigorously for three minutes prior to use.
Use only water
that has been boiled for drinking, diluting fruit juices, all other food
preparation and brushing teeth.
Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic
ice maker. Remake ice cubes with water that has been boiled.
Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at
least one minute in tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented
household bleach per gallon of water.
Note: Let water cool sufficiently
I donít have time to
boil all my familyís drinking water, so is it safe to buy bottled water
Buying bottled water may be a feasible, though somewhat expensive,
alternative to boiling tap water when under a boil water order. Bottled
water operations in Missouri are routinely inspected and monitored by the
Missouri Department of Health. This offers a safe source of water for
drinking, cooking and brushing teeth. Nationally, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water. Also NSF International
(formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) maintains a list of
certified bottled water operations across the country.
Do I need to boil bath
Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision
of children is necessary while bathing or using backyard pools so water is
not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their
What are the causes of
boil water orders and advisories?
There are a number of reasons you may be advised to boil your drinking
water. One reason is the confirmed presence of bacteria such as E. coli,
indicating microorganisms may be present that can cause disease. Low water
pressure that can allow microorganisms to enter water lines and low levels
of chlorine that can allow them to persist in the water pipes is another.
High levels of turbidity, a measure of suspended particles, is also a