Water Boil Advisories
Follow either option:
- Use potable water for handwashing by providing a temporary handwashing station supplied with warm potable water in an insulated container with a free-flowing spigot. Soap, paper towels or hand dryers, and a container for waste water must also be provided.
- Use warm tap water and soap for handwashing. After hands are rinsed and dried, follow with a liquid hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer must be used as an additional step; it does not replace handwashing.
For homes or establishments:
- If using tap water in your food product, the minimum internal temperature must reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit or potable water must be used.
- Potable water must be used when washing food products that will not be cooked afterward or prewashed items must be purchased.
- Tap water may be used to thaw food in a preparation sink, as long as the product is cooked afterward and reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Ice made from tap water must be discarded and the ice machine/ice bins must be sanitized once the boil water order has been lifted. All ice, including bagged ice, must be from an approved source.
- Produce misters must be discontinued.
- Test dishwashers to verify sanitizers are within the proper range (mechanical and manual). High
- temperature dishwashers must reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit on the surface of the utensil. Sanitizing
- solutions must be 50-200 ppm chlorine, 200-400 ppm quaternary ammonium, or 12.5-25 ppm iodine.
- Test sanitizing solutions routinely with test strips.
- Single service utensils may be used.
- Discontinue the use of dipper wells.
- Coffee and hot drinks must reach a minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mixed beverages containing water must be discontinued (e.g. pop dispensers connected to water supply).
- Canned or bottled beverages may be substituted.
- Discontinue the use of drinking fountains.
Schools should follow these additional precautions:
- Advise people using the showers to avoid swallowing water.
- Discontinue the use of drinking fountains and other plumbing fixtures used to provide drinking water to students and staff.
- Follow handwashing options outlined above.
After the Incident
Preparing for the boil water advisory to be lifted:
During a boil water advisory, the water purveyor may chlorinate the water distribution system and there may be a chlorine smell present. When this happens, turn on all the drinking fountains, hot and cold faucets, showers, etc., in your facility until you smell chlorine. This will allow the chlorinated water to contact the piping that may have contained contaminated water. Once the boil water advisory has been lifted, follow the additional actions listed below.
Actions necessary after boil water advisory has been lifted:
- Food contact surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized.
- Food processing equipment that uses tap water (e.g. juice machines, produce misters, etc.) must be
- flushed with chlorinated water of adequate concentration (50-200 ppm).
If you are not sure whether your facility is affected, contact your water purveyor (your current water bill will identify your water purveyor). Panhandle Health District and your water purveyor will give notification when the boil water advisory has been lifted and the water is safe for use.
If you have any questions, call (208) 415-5220 to speak to an Environmental Health Specialist.