What is a boil water advisory?

A Boil Water Advisory is the method used to alert businesses and residents of the potential health threat.

If your area is under a boil water advisory:

→Boil your water vigorously for at least one minute before drinking or cooking.
→Don’t use any appliances that might require drinkable water like dish washers, ice machines, drinking fountains, etc.
→Don’t use water from the tap to wash food, dishes, or your hands. Use water that has been boiled and cooled for this purpose.
→Food service businesses should follow all applicable state and federal regulations as well. See SC DHEC’s Food Safety for Industry for more information.
→For more tips on water use during a Boil Water Advisory, see this Fact Sheet About What to Do During a Boil Water Advisory developed by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Water Works Association in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

After a Boil Water Advisory

If a boil water advisory for your area has been repealed:

→Dispose of any ice that might have been made during the Boil Water Advisory
→You may want to turn on your taps to flush your lines.

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When might a Boil Water Advisory be issued?

Water line breaks and repairs are the most common reason for issuing a Boil Water Advisory. Other circumstances that warrant an advisory include:

  • Complications with the water treatment process
  • Loss of pressure in a significant portion of the distribution system
  • Prior to a hurricane making landfall

When is a Repeal issued?

After the break is repaired, the water system undergoes extensive bacteriological testing before the drinking water advisory is repealed.

What are the current Advisories and Repeals?

All active Boil Water Advisories and all Repeals can be found on the City of Columbia Water & Sewer Nixle Page.

What is a Boil Water Notice and why would one be issued?

Boil water advisory means an advisory, whether written or verbal (i.e. by television, radio, newspaper, telephone or door to door contact), notifying the users of the water system that the water may be contaminated and to boil the water (vigorous rolling boil for at least one minute) prior to using it for drinking or cooking. Circumstances that warrant an advisory include complications with the water treatment process, loss of pressure in a significant portion of the distribution system, water line break where dirt and debris have entered the distribution piping, and prior to a hurricane making landfall.

Boil water notice means a notice, whether written or verbal, notifying the users of the water system that the water is contaminated and to boil the water (vigorous rolling boil for at least one minute) prior to using it for drinking or cooking. Notices are issued when both routine and follow-up testing confirms the presence of pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms in the drinking water.