Due to extreme winter conditions, several water systems in Texas have had to issue boil water advisories recently. What are boil water advisories? Why are they necessary?
Most of the time tap water is safe to drink and use for cooking, cleaning and hygienic purposes. There are times, however, when it is safer to boil our water before using our tap water for these common uses.
What emergencies could affect tap water?
- Natural disasters, like earthquakes or hurricanes
- Contamination resulting from stormwater runoff
- Waste leakage
- Major water main breaks
- Power outages
- Civil unrest
- System malfunctions
- Human error
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires your water utility to notify all of its customers should the need to boil water occur. These notifications could be broadcast on local television, radio or distributed via email or social media. You can contact your water provider to find out its notification method(s) to make sure you stay informed.
In case of emergencies, you may have some safe water sources in your home that you may not have thought of before. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you can find safe water in:
- Melted ice cubes
- Liquids from canned goods, like fruits or vegetables
- Water drained from pipes
- Water drained from water heater
But there are also some unsafe water sources too, which you should not use in an emergency:
- How water boilers
- Water from toilet (flush tank)
- Water beds (additives or chemicals in vinyl may not be safe for consumption)
- Swimming pools or spas
Visit DrinkTap’s Water Emergencies page for more information. So, the next time you hear of a boil water advisory, you’ll be ready.