Boil Water Notice in effect
Types of Advisories:
Water Quality Advisory
Used to notify the public about a situation that may be problem for some individuals or that may pose a low risk to the general population, e.g. high turbidity. Those with health concerns may wish to follow the guidelines of the Boil Water Notice.
Boil Water Notice
Used when the public health threat is potentially significant and can be effectively addressed by boiling the water, e.g. presence of bacteria.
Read what to do during Boil Water Notice.
Restricted Use Water Notice
Used when the public health threat is potentially significant and cannot be effectively addressed by boiling the water, e.g. chemical contamination. Restrictions on use need to be specified for each situation.
There are times when a Water Quality Advisory or Boil Water Notice is necessary for Gillies Bay.
When in place, the public will be notified on this website and Facebook, also by signage at the Community Hall, public notices on community noticeboards and on the door of the Gillies Bay Community Hall, and other methods.
Total coliform testing (regularly tested biweekly) is used to indicate changes in water quality (or growth of organisms) as well as the potential for the presence of more dangerous viruses/bacteria. We use chlorine to disinfect our water from dangerous pathogens, but in the warmer months of the year, we struggle with turbidity (large and small/microscopic ‘particles’ in the water). Excess turbidity has a negative impact on the effectiveness of chlorine. The more turbidity, the more chlorine is needed to effectively disinfect the water. There comes a point where we cannot safely add enough chlorine to keep up with the level of turbidity.
This, coupled with peak demand in the summer (during a period of less-than-ideal water conditions), is what often causes a boil water advisory. That is one of many reasons why the GBID issues watering restrictions at the beginning of the summer.
We value your understanding and patience when the advisory or notice is in place, and want you to know we are doing everything we can to improve the situation. Our number one priority is to ensure that our community has safe, potable water.
Please note that a Water Quality Advisory is not a Boil Water Notice; it is more of a precautionary boil. The advisory happens when the amount of organics is higher than average; turbidity values are often higher in spring. The increase in turbidity can be due to a number of factors (ie algae growth, heavy rainfall, etc).
When a Boil Water Notice is in effect, please follow these guidelines:
What to do During a Boil Water Notice
The following general precautions should be followed when there is a boil water notice in effect.
Note: precautions may vary depending on the circumstances of the notice.
How to boil tap water
Tap water should be boiled for one minute. Use any clean pot or kettle. Kettles that have automatic shut offs are acceptable.
After boiling, let the water cool by leaving it on the counter or in the refrigerator in covered containers. After water is boiled it can be stored in food grade containers at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
You can bring back flavour by shaking water in a container, pouring the water between two containers, and/or adding a pinch of salt.
Boiled water is required for:
This includes all beverage concentrates such as fruit juice and iced tea where water is added.
This includes washing fruits and vegetables that will not be cooked. Water used as an ingredient does not need to be boiled prior to use, providing it will be brought to a boil during the cooking process.
Coffee machines usually produce water heated to about 70 to 80 degrees Celsius, which is sufficient to destroy pathogens. This temperature must be maintained for a sufficient amount of time to ensure that all harmful organisms are destroyed. Therefore, let the coffee stand for at least five minutes before drinking.
This includes daily oral hygiene such as cleaning dentures
Formulas should always be prepared by using boiled tap water or bottled water that is boiled.
It is important to note that freezing does not destroy most pathogens. Bacteria and viruses can survive in frozen products for long periods of time. Discard any ice made from contaminated or potentially contaminated water
Fruit and vegetable washing
Boiled water should be used to wash all produce that is to be eaten raw.
To be safe postpone home canning until the boil water notice has been rescinded.
Beer and wine making
To be safe postpone beer and wine making until the boil water notice has been rescinded.
Water for pets
Veterinarians that were consulted by VIHA recommend that drinking water for pets including dogs, cats, birds and reptiles should also be boiled. Information on water quality for livestock can be accessed at the BC Ministry of Environment water quality objectives website .
People who are immune compromised should always boil their tap water for the purposes above.
Cleaning food contact surfaces
Food contact surfaces are all those surfaces that food comes into contact with during the food preparation process. These include counter tops, cutting boards and chopping blocks. Food contact surfaces should be washed with clean water and then sanitized using an acceptable sanitizing agent. Sanitizing agents for food contact surfaces include unscented household bleach, iodophors, and quaternary ammonia compounds.
To prepare stock bleach solutions add 2-4 ml of 5% bleach per litres of water (1 tablespoon per gallon). This will make a 100 to 200 ppm chlorine solution.
Using warm water and soap should be sufficient. Ensure hands are thoroughly dried using paper towel. Use of alcohol sanitizer following hand washing will provide additional safety.
Dishwashing by hand
Dishes washed by hand should be sanitized for two minutes in a separate sink using a bleach solution (2-4 ml of bleach per liter of water or 1 tablespoon per gallon) after the dishes have been washed and rinsed. The dishes should then be left to air dry prior to being used. Attempting to wash and sanitize dishes in the same sink at the same time is not recommended because soap, grease and food particles interfere with the sanitizing process.
Residential home-style dishwashers may not provide a high enough temperature to destroy all pathogens. Dishwashing units that reach 82 degrees Celsius (180 Fahrenheit) for twelve seconds (or an equivalent time-temperature relationship) during the final rinse cycle will destroy pathogens.
To optimize dishwasher disinfection you should consider:
- Using the highest temperature setting possible and
- Using the heated dry cycle on the dishwasher.
All other water should be boiled. Simply put, any water that has a chance of being ingested should be boiled.
When will the Boil Water Notice be lifted?
The Boil Water Notice will be lifted once the water is safe to drink.
After a Boil water Notice has been lifted
- Flush all water-using fixtures for 1 minute.
- Run cold-water faucets and drinking fountains for 1 minute before using the water.
- Drain and flush all ice-making machines in your refrigerator.
- Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
- Drain and refill hot water tanks set below 45 C (normal setting is 60 C).
- Change any pre-treatment filters (under sink style and refrigerator water filters, carbon block, activated carbon, sediment filters, etc.).
Alternatives to Boiling Water
Although there are alternatives, not all of them will be feasible or practical in all situations. In part, it will depend on how much water you need and what you need it for. Safe alternatives to boiling water include:
- Using commercially prepared bottled water,
- Obtaining water from an approved source that is not on a boil water notice.
- If the water is clear and boiling water is not practical, you can use the following Bleach to Water Chart (PDF) as a guide to using bleach.
Important notes: Using bleach (chlorine) to disinfect water is not recommended for Public Notifications that are a result of high turbidity. Turbid water reduces the effects of bleach as a disinfectant. In addition, there may be pathogens present in turbid water that are not affected by bleach.
Bleach does not work well in killing off Cryptosporidium parasites
The amount of bleach needed to kill Cryptosporidium makes the water almost impossible to drink. If Cryptosporidium is in the water, boiling is the best way to make sure water is safe to drink.
Disinfection using unscented household bleach (5% chlorine) works best with warm water. Add bleach to the water, shake or stir for thorough mixing and then let it stand for at least 30 minutes before drinking.
A slight chlorine odour should still be noticeable at the end of the 30-minute waiting period if you have added enough bleach. If not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand an additional 15 minutes. If the water has too strong a chlorine taste, allow the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or pour it from one clean container to another several times.
Disinfection depends as much on the waiting time after mixing as to the amount of bleach used. The longer the water is left to stand after adding bleach, the more effective the disinfection process will be.
- Download printer friendly version:What to do during a boil water notice (PDF)