Understanding the Boil Water Notice and the Utility of a UV Water Filter
It’s no secret that microbes and other pathogens lie anywhere and everywhere, even in our water. This is exactly where a boil water notice comes into play.
If the recent pandemic has taught us something, it’s that we need to be as careful as we possibly can. Even though most Americans enjoy treated and safe water from over 148,000 public water systems, sometimes a cause of contamination can occur. There are various reasons for this, and we’ll try to explain everything as well as we can in this short article.
What Is a Boil Water Notice?
Your local water company issues a boil water notice whenever there is concern for contamination. Sometimes, this can be caused by a pipeline breaking, power outage, or an unexpected equipment failure.
Whenever one of these three things happen, the risk for contamination increases dramatically. How so? Well, if a pipe breaks, the outside dirt can come in contact with the water and contaminate it with mold and bacteria. As for power outages and equipment failure, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
Power plants need their equipment in top shape to achieve successful water filtration. If even one small piece breaks, the filtration will fail, and contaminants can delve inside people’s water supplies. As such, drinking water without boiling it first can pose a major threat. You risk infecting yourself with E. Coli, Cryptosporidium, and other waterborne pathogens.
In short, just like the name says, a boil water notice warns you that you might need to boil the water to get rid of said pathogens.
When Does a Boil Water Notice Get Issued?
We’ve described in short detail when a boil water notice gets issued, but now let’s go into more detail.
The State Water Resources Control Board works closely with all major water suppliers. This entity helps suppliers keep close tabs on their systems and identify major problems before they can occur.
A boil water notice gets issued whenever one of the following malfunctions occurs:
- A hurricane or other natural disaster interrupts the distribution system
- There’s a scheduled maintenance taking place, case in which residents will be notified a few hours beforehand
- Certain samples from continuous tests show the presence of pathogens
- Water pressure goes below 20 psi or is lost completely
- Increased levels of unfiltered water from rainfall enter the drinking water source
- The company discovers a cross-connection that might’ve infected the water
As you can tell, a boil water notice doesn’t necessarily mean that the water’s been tested. Thus, there’s no confirmation or denial regarding the presence of pathogens. However, it is a caution that should be taken seriously. Don’t take any chances with you and your family’s health, as many waterborne pathogens come with severe consequences.
How to Be Aware of a Boil Water Notice
We live in an era when we have access to a majority of the entire world’s information at our fingertips. Most water companies ask for your e-mail address and phone number for good reasons nowadays.
They can send you e-mail and text alerts regarding boil water notices so that you won’t have any nasty surprises when it’s too late. And, of course, classic methods such as tuning in to the local news, radio stations, etc. can help you avoid an infection.
General Do’s and Don’ts When Dealing With a Boil Water Notice
First, let’s see what you should do and avoid doing when there’s an active boil water notice. Then, we will get into the details about how a UV water filter can help.
What You Can Safely Do:
- Wash your clothes – unless there are other cloudy pollutants that can damage fabrics
- Wash your hands – but with soap and disinfectant afterwards
- Take showers – except for kids aged below 8
- Flush the toilet
What You Shouldn’t Do:
- Drink water from the tap
- Brush your teeth with tap water
- Wash fruits and vegetables or prepare food with tap water
- Mix baby formula with tap water
- Use tap water to make ice
- Give tap water to pets or children
How to Safely Boil Water During One of These Notices
First off, see how cloudy the water is. If it’s obvious that it’s way too cloudy to be drinkable, give it time to settle.
Alternatively, you can strain the water with a clean cloth, coffee filter, or a paper towel to remove all sediments. Once the tap water seems clear enough to be drinkable, go to the next step. If it isn’t cloudy to begin with, then you won’t need to filter it at all.
Next, hold the water at the boiling point for at least a minute to kill all harmful bacteria. Do note that elevation also plays a huge role when it comes to how long you have to boil the water. If you live at altitudes above 6,500 feet, water will boil slower, so we recommend leaving it for at least three minutes.
We recommend using a metal pot to boil water, by the way. Some people have asked if it is ok to boil water in a coffee maker, and the simple answer is no. The best way to boil water is the traditional one: using a pot on a stove, campfire, or any other source of great heat. Coffee machines don’t manage to boil water for long enough to purify it and make it safe to drink.
We can’t stress this enough, but please follow these simple instructions when boiling water. If you do it incorrectly, you might as well not do it at all.
What Should You Do After a Boil Water Notice?
First off, disinfect any surfaces that have come in contact with the potentially infected water. Then, flush the entire plumbing system to get rid of any bacteria that might’ve been left behind inside the pipes.
If you’ve used water in the fridge or freezer recently, we also recommend cleaning it. Some pathogens can survive even in low temperatures, and it’s best to be cautious. But even better, you should consider getting a proper filtration system for pathogens. Let’s explore:
How a UV Filter Can Help You During a Boil Water Notice
Choosing the Yarna UV Water Filter will greatly negate the effects of pathogens inside your water supply.
As long as there is no sediment or TDS, the UV-C rays penetrate the microorganisms’ DNA and kill their cells from within. How does this work, exactly? UV-C rays are similar to the ones emitted by the sun.
These rays eliminate bacteria, viruses, parasites, mold, and other living organisms at the DNA level. As such, even if a certain microorganism’s cell is still present, it won’t be able to multiply or infect you. It will be practically dead.
That way, you won’t need to worry about a boil water notice ever again. You’ll be able to enjoy the same crisp, clean, pathogen-free water you love so much. All you need is to know a few things before purchasing a UV water filter.
What You Should Know About a UV Water Filter
First off, a UV water filter only kills microorganisms. It won’t help you if your water’s infested with inorganic contaminants.
With that said, don’t expect it to remove iron, lead, chlorine, chemicals, sediment, or any other potentially dangerous hazard unless we’re talking about bacteria, parasites, viruses, mold, and algae.
A UV Filter works best when you pair it with a powerful filtration system that can handle all sorts of inorganic matter. Mechanical pre-filtering systems are usually the best choice for this, as they can stop most pollutants. You should also research what types of pollutants are common in your area so you’ll know what type of pre-filter to get.
Also, the amount of hard minerals inside your water supply can impact the UV water filter’s effectiveness. Calcium and magnesium crystals block UV light, so if a pathogen is right behind one of the crystals, then the UV-C rays won’t be able to eliminate it. If you live in an area with hard water, like more than 80% of Americans, then you should consider pairing the UV water filter with a water descaler.
Otherwise, a UV water filter works perfectly as long as you’ve installed it correctly and you have running electricity. Yes, you do need electricity to power a UV filter. While it doesn’t consume much, it’s worth noting in case of emergencies when the power goes out.
Boil Water Notice: Final Thoughts
Whenever a boil water notice occurs, things can get pretty complicated and messy. If you don’t have a UV filter with a good pre-filtering system, then you’ll have to boil water before using it for some of the most basic activities.
It can be quite a hassle and it takes too much time. So, as long as you’ve got running electricity, you’re far better off installing a UV water filter. Depending on how much water your household consumes, you might be interested in our 13 GPM version, or our 18 GPM version.