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How to use water safely during a Boil Water Advisory

What is a boil water advisory?

 A boil water advisory is issued when harmful germs (e.g., E.coli bacteria, giardia parasite) may be in a drinking water supply. Drinking water contaminated with these germs can make people and animals very sick. Boiling the water will kill the germs and make it safe to drink.

How do I use water when a boil water advisory has been issued?

 Water should be brought to a rolling boil and boiled for a minimum of one minute before use.

Use tap water for:

  • Washing clothes
  • Taking showers (adults and older children)
  • Shaving
  • Flushing toilets

Use boiled water for:

  • Drinking
  • Brushing teeth
  • Handwashing
  • Washing dishes
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Preparing food and baby formula
  • Making ice
  • Coffee makers
  • Sponge bath babies and young children (after water cools)
  • Giving water to pets

Infant formula preparation during a boil water advisory:

  • Buy bottled water and sterilize it by bringing the water to a rolling boil for 2 minutes.
  • Do not use kettles that shut off before the water has boiled for 2 minutes.
  • Contact the health unit for more details about how to safely prepare formula.

Do not use water for:

  • Kitchen and other household water filters
  • Ice makers and soda dispensers with a line to the water supply
  • Children’s water play such as wading pools and water tables

Do not use snow as a water source.

What should I do after a boil water advisory is lifted?

  • Run cold water faucets for one minute before using the water.
  • Run drinking water fountains for one minute before using the water.
  • Flush garden hoses by running cold water through them for five minutes.
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
  • Drain and refill hot water heaters set below 45°C (normal setting is 60°C)

For more information on boil water advisories, contact the duty inspector at 1-800-461-1818 or 1-705-267-1181.