On the way home from work, you are stuck in traffic.

With the cars at a standstill, you decide to look for a different song or voice on the radio. Flipping through the stations, suddenly you hear the news announcer say, “The water municipality has issued a ‘boil order’ for the Smithton area.”

Wait! That’s where you live! So, what does that mean for your family tonight? How does that affect your supper or evening plans? Ultimately it means that whether you are washing grapes or making a cup of tea, all of the water used will have to be brought to a boil for at least two minutes before consumption. Even taking a shower during a boil order can be risky.

Boil orders can be issued by water municipalities for several reasons. First, they can be issued because of natural disasters. Due to the record amount of rainfall in Colorado this month, many communities and towns have experienced horrific flooding, damaging property, and costing lives. Flooding washes away top soil, damages entry points of water pipes to homes and businesses, and exposes underground main pipes that were previously buried. Flooding can also compromise the quality of well water, introducing bacteria and contaminants into the water supply. (For more information on natural disasters and water related safety, see the CDC’s page on “Water-related Emergencies.”)

Natural disasters are not the only cause for boil water alerts. Any loss of pressure to a water main can create a high risk of bacteria intrusion through backwash. This drop in pressure can be caused by pipe breaks or even an industrial or traffic accident that compromises the integrity of the pipes. System maintenance on our aging infrastructure of water supply systems can also cause the water delivery mains to be compromised. In the midst of constant testing, the municipalities may issue an order because of unsafe testing results for everything from turbidity to the presence of fecal matter.

If you live in Canada,
this website offers a simple way to find out when and how long your
boil alert will be on. In the United States, however, residents are
dependant on their local news agencies. In a recent article titled, “Boil Water Orders Abound in the US,” in the industry-leading Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine, author Kelly A. Reynolds, PhD noted that in the first 14 days of August 2013, there were at least 29 US regions that were under an alert. These alerts covered both large and small areas, with some covering a few blocks and others including entire communities.

When a boil order is issued, all water used  for ingestion, including washing fruits and vegetables and using coffee makers, must be boiled. Government agencies even warn that after hand washing, antiseptic washes should be used to keep bacteria from being accidentally ingested.
If you are concerned about the safety of your water, there are other options besides boiling tap water or purchasing expensive bottled water. The AquaCera countertop filtration system offers a simple and easy to use option for filtering drinking water. To provide water for a larger household, the AquaCera Gravity Water Filter System offers an excellent and safe option, providing your home with safe water, even during a boil order. A whole house Trojan UV System is also a great way to protect your family during natural disasters or boil alerts.

If you are concerned about the safety of your water, call our water experts at 1-877-335-3339.

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