Boil Water Q & A

WHY DO WE HAVE TO BOIL WATER

Seacoast generally provides water pressure in the range of 50 to 60 pounds per square inch (psi) at the customer’s meter. Whenever an incident occurs that reduces pressure to below 20 psi for an extended period of time, the potential for backflow or back siphoning of undesirable material into the drinking water system increases. To assure that the water is safe to drink, regulations require public drinking water suppliers to issue a “Precautionary Boil Water Advisory” to their customers. Such advisories are generally in effect for 48 to 72 hours, long enough for the water utility to collect and analyze samples from the affected portion of its system. If samples indicate bacteriological contamination (as they very rarely do), the utility issues a notice extending the boil water order until testing indicates that water quality is acceptable. Boiling water as directed, generally inactivates disease-causing microorganisms if any are present. It is a precautionary interim disinfecting measure which is relatively simple and highly effective, and which provides extra security while laboratory analyses confirming the water’s safety are in progress.

HOW WILL WE KNOW IF WE HAVE TO BOIL THE WATER?

Depending upon the number of customers affected, Seacoast distributes boil water notices either through the media, HOA, guard houses, or by delivering notices to the door of each affected customer. Clearly, when all Seacoast customer homes and businesses are affected, it is impossible to deliver notices to every door.

The two easiest ways that customers can keep current on the status of a “boil water” advisory, provided they have telephone and electric service, is to check our website, www.sua.com, or call our boil water hotline at 561-656-2244, to listen to the latest updates. During a declared disaster, they can also listen for broadcast updates from the local Emergency Operation Center (EOC). Seacoast is in constant contact with the EOC to update any information regarding the water and sewer services.

WHAT WATER USAGE REQUIRES BOILING AND HOW LONG DO I BOIL THE WATER?

Here are the instructions to follow when a "Boil Water Advisory" has been issued:

  1. Bring water to a rolling boil for one (1) minute before using for culinary (cooking),brushing teeth, or drinking.
  2. Water not being used for the above purposes does not have to be boiled. This meanswater used to wash dishes, do the laundry or to bathe does not need to be boiled.Water used for these purposes may be disinfected by adding six (6) to eight (8) dropsof unscented bleach per gallon of water used.
  3. Ice makers and public drinking fountains should be turned off and not turned back onuntil the “precautionary boil water advisory” has been lifted. The first load of ice fromthe ice maker should be thrown out and/or run the water in the water fountain forthree (3) minutes after the advisory has been lifted.
  4. Continue the procedure until further notice.
  5. Monitor our website at www.sua.com or call 561-656-2244 for a phone message withthe latest status regarding a "Boil Water Advisory". For mass outages, please watch formedia and newspaper reports.
  6. During natural or man-made disasters, the boiling of water may not be possible due to the lack of power within the water systems service area. If there is no power, residents and businesses should be instructed to disinfect their drinking water as follows:

Tap water can be disinfected by adding 6 to 8 drops of unscented household bleach (4% to 6% active ingredients) to each gallon of water, then mixing the water and allowing it to stand for minimum period of 30 minutes.

Note: Cloudy water requires 16 drops of bleach and a 30 minute contact time. Other approved chemical disinfectants are available at stores that sell camping and hiking supplies.

DO I HAVE TO BOIL THE WATER THAT MY PET DRINKS?

Only pet owners are aware of their pet’s sanitary habits. Therefore, the decision to boil a pet's water, or not to boil a pet's water, is entirely the pet owner's decision. Boiling the water is precautionary, and if a pet already sneaks a drink out of the toilet or a puddle, then boiling the water may not be necessary. For further clarification, check with a veterinarian.

DO I HAVE TO BOIL THE WATER FOR MY PET TURTLE or FISH?

Treat the water as usual for aquatic life. Check with a local pet store or veterinarian for recommendations.