Precautionary Boil Water Notices
When there is a loss in water pressure, either due to a broken water pipe, loss of power and/or system pressure, or a scheduled outage for repairs, a Precautionary Boil Water Notice is issued.
The City of Palm Coast is required by law to inform citizens of an affected area. When the number of affected customers is limited, each affected household or business is informed individually using a printed notice hung on the front door. In the event of a large-scale event, Boil Water Notices will be distributed through media releases, email communications, social media groups, as well as posts on the homepage of the City's website.
Palm Coast Utility systems are monitored 24/7/365, and teams stand at the ready to handle any pipe breaks. Following repair, the water system is flushed to ensure water quality, and then bacteriological samples are taken over a 48-hour period. The lab results are reviewed and a Discontinue Boil Water Notice will be distributed using the same methods listed above.
Visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for additional information.
Why are Precautionary Boil Water Notices issued?
We may issue a Precautionary Boil Water Notice if there is a loss of water pressure due to a water main (pipe) break, loss of power, other unforeseen emergency, or a planned repair or replacement. Water pressure keeps pollutants from entering the underground pipes that bring drinking water to your house or business. When the pressure is lost, it is possible that contaminants could seep into the pipes.
The notice does not mean that the water is contaminated — it means it is possible for contaminants to enter the pipes and affect drinking water. Until the required bacteriological testing is completed, the City will recommend boiling tap water before consuming it to kill any potential contaminants or using bottled water, as a precaution.
What if I accidentally drank tap water before I learned about the Precautionary Boil Water Notice?
If this happens, don’t panic. The chances of becoming ill are slim. See your doctor if you experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or abdominal cramps.
How long should water be boiled?
Vigorous boiling for at least one full minute is the safest and most effective method of disinfection. Fill a pot with cold water and start timing when steady streams of bubbles pop from the bottom of the pot. Water must be adequately cooled before it can be used for washing or brushing teeth. Store the boiled water in clean, covered containers. Using bottled water is also an option.
How does boiling water make it safe to drink?
Boiling water purifies it because disease-causing bacteria, viruses or parasites will be destroyed by the heat.
Should I use bottled water?
Bottled water is a good alternative to boiling water.
Can I wash my hands in tap water during the notice period?
Use tap water and soap for hand washing and basic hygiene, but if you are washing your hands to prepare food, use bottled or boiled water.
What about brushing teeth?
Use bottled or boiled water to brush teeth.
Can I take a shower?
Yes. Just be careful not to drink the water while you shower or bathe. Though the risk of illness is minimal, individuals who have recent surgical wounds, are immunosuppressed, or have a chronic illness may want to consider using bottled or boiled water for cleansing until the notice is lifted.
What about washing dishes?
Hand-washing dishes: Wash with hot soapy water, then use boiled water to rinse.
Dishwasher: If the hot water reaches at least 170 degrees or the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle and includes a full dry cycle, this will be sufficient.
Can I wash food with tap water?
Fruits, vegetables and other foods should be washed with bottled or boiled water during the precautionary period.
Can I use tap water for making coffee, tea, lemonade, baby formula, frozen juice, or other beverages?
No. Water intended for drinking must be boiled before using it to make beverages, or use bottled water.
Can I use my ice maker during the notice?
Ice already in the freezer when the water pressure drops and before the Precautionary Boil Water Notice is issued is safe. When the notice is issued, turn off your ice maker. When the notice is lifted, if no contamination has been found, then you do not need to flush your ice maker before using it.
Does a water filter protect me?
Water filters in refrigerators and pitchers do not remove bacteria. For under-sink filters, read the manual. If in doubt, boil.
Is it safe to give water to pets?
Many pets, such as dogs, are susceptible to the same diseases as humans. Provide them with bottled or boiled (then cooled) water.
Can I use tap water to water my grass or garden?
Yes, but fruits and vegetables must be washed using boiled or bottled water before consumption.
If the street next to my street is under a Precautionary Boil Water Notice, will the same precautions apply to me?
No, the notice is issued only to those residences and businesses whose water has the chance of contamination.
When will the Precautionary Boil Water Notice be lifted?
After the water system is repaired, and the pressure is restored in the pipes to your home or business, the Precautionary Boil Water Notice will remain in effect while bacteriological tests are conducted to ensure the safety of the water. The notice will be lifted (rescinded) after the required testing proves the water is safe to drink.
How is the public notified?
Typically, Precautionary Boil Water Notice areas are isolated and affect only a small number of customers. In these cases, notification is provided directly to the customers.
However, there are instances when a large-scale Precautionary Boil Water Notice is issued. In these cases, where notices cannot be delivered directly to Palm Coast water customers, the City will provide information to local media and post it on the City’s website, and social media page. An email will also be delivered to the email address associated with the utility account.
For general questions about drinking water quality:
Call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
For City of Palm Coast Questions:
Please use the Citizen-Centric Customer Service portal to submit a case at PalmCoast.gov/Connect or contact Customer Service at 386-986-2360.