Boil Water Alerts and Advisories – What They Are and How To Protect Yourself and Your Family

What is a Boil Water Advisory (BWA)?

Boil Water Advisories are often issued by water municipalities when damage occurs to a water line or parts of the main water distribution system. These alerts are also issued for a loss in water pressure, allowing bacteria to backwash into the water pipes.

Minerals and viruses like E. coli, cryptosporidium, and giardia may get into water when a pipe breaks or during a natural disaster, like flooding. Chemical spills that get into the water supply may also cause “Do Not Use” advisories. Water stored in coffee makers, ice machines or dispensers, and soda makers should not be used during a “Do Not Use” or boil water advisory.

What contaminants might be in my water?

Major contaminants are rarely life threatening, but they make people, especially younger children, elderly people, or those with compromised immune systems very sick. Bacteria, Cryptosporidum, Giardia, E. Coli, and viruses are the most common contaminants during a boil water advisory. These organisms primarily affect the gastrointestinal system, causing diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting with or without a fever. Boiling or disinfecting will neutralize the bacteria in water, but installing a UV System is the safest way to ensure that you never have to worry about contaminants in you water, not even during a BWA.

Do I need to boil my tap water if it is filtered?

Yes, it’s important to boil all tap water even if it is filtered. Most water filters (activated carbon, charcoal, pitcher filters, etc.) are not suitable for use on micro-biologically unsafe water and do NOT kill bacteria or viruses. If you run water through your filter during the Boil Water Advisory, it could be contaminated.

We recommend that you discard the filter and replace it with a new one once the boil advisory is lifted. Even if you have a fridge or ice filter, do not use ice from ice trays, dispensers, or ice makers. Make your own ice with boiled or bottled water.

What if I have a reverse osmosis system?

Although not designed for biological pathogen removal, RO, ultrafiltration, and other absolute rated sub-micron filters may reduce them. However, filters and membranes should be replaced and system and storage tank sanitized during a BWA.

How can I protect myself and my family in the future?

We cannot stress enough the importance of having an Ultra Violet System installed in your home whether your water is supplied by a well or by a municipal supplier.  Municipal water suppliers do their best to protect the public. But contaminants can infiltrate aquifers and springs, and aging infrastructure can introduce contamination even when water has been treated.

If you’re using a private well or one shared with a few neighbors, you’re responsible for the quality of the water you and your family are consuming. Understanding how your well water may become contaminated with natural or man-made contaminants is key to avoiding possible illness and managing aesthetic water issues. There are multiple ways that well water contamination can happen like: heavy rainfall, spring runoff and flood events can overwhelm even well-constructed, recently drilled wells and can introduce surface contaminants into the aquifer below. If your well is older, there are even more potential avenues for surface contamination to enter your drinking water.

The bottom line is that the installation of an Ultra Violet Disinfection System is the simple way to avoid being concerned  about this contamination. If you have questions about the quality of your water or would like to have a UV System installed or serviced, contact EPA Water Consultants, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We provide service all over Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including towns like Quakertown, Allentown and Newtown, PA.

For 25 years, EPA Water Consultants have been working with homeowners, home builders and businesses throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey to solve multiple water-related problems. Each install is completed by an EPA Water employee as if it was our home – no subcontractors! With our 100% water quality guarantee, EPA Water Consultants will provide the best water available to you and your home or business! Did we mention, we’re the Delaware Valley’s #1 Hague Quality Water Dealer?