What You Need To Know About “Boil Notice Alerts”

Today I wanted to discuss a particular type of water emergency; a “boil notice” or “boil alert notification”. These notifications happen quite often around the USA (see a recent one here). But there is a very important point that they never tell you. You need to understand what it is. First, what is a “boil alert notification”? When the water flowing to your tap contains, or is suspected to contain a biological contaminant, such as E. coli, the municipal water company will often (not always) tell you to boil the water before you consume it. Boiling the water will kill biological contaminants, thus eliminating that danger. It’s important to keep in mind that creating an infrastructure that provides us with biologically safe tap water was a HUGE step forward for public safety. And it’s something that we completely take for granted. Sometimes however, something goes wrong and biological contaminants pass through the pipes to our faucets, which puts us at risk. The largest such event to happen in recent times was the cryptosporidium outbreak that hit Milwaukee in 1993. Over 400,000 people became ill and over 100 died as a result. Biological outbreaks can be very dangerous for a few
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