Boil Water Notices

What is a boil water notice?

A boil water notice is issued to protect consumers when it is possible that drinking water has been contaminated by microorganisms that can cause illness (i.e. germs or pathogens). This may be in response to known microbiological contamination, or as a precaution when conditions pose a threat of microbiological contamination.  Common reasons for a boil water notice include loss of pressure in the water distribution system, loss of disinfection, and other water quality concerns caused by other events such as water line breaks, power outages and floods.  In the event that a "Do Not Use" notice is issued, additional precautions will be needed, contact your local Health Department for guidance.

Notice delivery

Pasco County Utilities typically issues precautionary boil water notices for 48 hours, until analytical results show the system is clear of contaminants. If you received a notice on your door that we have issued an advisory, we will also hand-deliver a door notice when we lift the alert. If you did not get a door hanger, but heard about the notice through the news, we will also notify the media when we lift the notice.

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is the difference between a Precautionary Boil Water Notice and a Mandatory Notice?
    • Precautionary Notice means that an incident occurred in which there is a slight chance of backflow or bacteria the entering system, such as, low or no pressure or a water main break or a disruption in the water plant treatment.  A Mandatory Notice is issued when a microbiological contaminant is known to actually exist in the water in an amount that exceeds the allowable maximum contaminant level for drinking water standards.
  2. How do I boil my water so that it is safe to drink?
    • Bring water to a FULL ROLLING BOIL for 1 MINUTE, then allow the water to COOL BEFORE USE. Because water may take 30 minutes to cool, plan ahead. Make up a batch of boiled water in advance so you will not be tempted to use it hot and risk scalds or burns. Boiled water may be used for drinking, cooking, and washing. The flat taste of boiled water can be improved by aeration: pouring it back and forth from one container to another. In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or get water from another suitable source.   Here's an easy way to remember...ROLL for ONE then COOL.
  3. How long will the need to boil water continue?
    • A boil water event typically lasts 24 to 48 hours, but it can be longer and may last several days. How long depends on what caused the need to boil, how quickly the problem can be corrected, and how long it takes for laboratory results to confirm your water is again ready to drink. You can also call Pasco County Utilities Customer Information & Services at (727) 847-8131 and they can answer questions on how long your boil water notice might last and advise you when you can return to normal water use.
  4. How does a Boil Water Notice differ from a Do Not Drink or Do Not Use notice?
    • A Do Not Drink or Do Not Use notice may indicate chemical contamination and advises consumers to find alternative drinking water sources because boiling will not make the water safe for these specific contaminants. This type of notice advises consumers to avoid all contact with the water.
  5. What about ice cubes or home prepared foods that may contain water that should have been boiled?
    • Discard the ice cubes.  If prepared food is not reheated, be on the safe side and don't eat it.
  6. Does using a coffee maker make it unnecessary to boil the water I use to make coffee?
    • No, you should still use boiled water or bottled water to brew your coffee.
  7. Can I use the water to rinse vegetables or fruits?
    • No, use boiled or bottled water to rinse fruits and vegetables.
  8. Can I hand-wash dishes with water that hasn't been boiled?
    • Yes, use hot, soapy water and add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon as a precaution and rinse dishes in cooled water that was boiled first.
  9. What if I use a dishwasher?
    • Only if your model has a sanitizing cycle. That will bring the temperature high enough to destroy any bacteria that may be present.
  10. Can I take a shower?
    • Yes. Just be careful not to drink the water while you shower or bathe.
  11. If I have breaks in my skin, is it still OK to shower or bathe in water that hasn't been boiled?
    • It is recommended that if it is a large open wound or if you are immunocompromised, apply a waterproof bandage to the wound or take a sponge bath.
  12. Do I have to boil the water for my pets?
    • To be on the safe side, yes.
  13. Can I do laundry?
    • Yes, it is okay to do laundry.
  14. What if I have a filter system on my faucet or refrigerator?
    • Most point of use filter are designed to improve the taste and odor of water and not remove harmful bacteria.  Check the manual or contact the manufacturer for more information.  If in doubt, you should boil your water or use bottles water.
  15. What if I think I ingested some water that should have been boiled but wasn't?
    • For a Precautionary Boil Water Notice, it is highly unlikely that any contaminants entered the water system. If it did it would most likely be a type of bacteria that could cause digestive irregularities.  If severe diarrhea or cramping occurs or if diarrhea or cramping occurs and lasts more than 3 to 4 days, contact your doctor.