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Boil Water and Drinking Water Advisories and Orders

Boil water and drinking water advisories/orders are issued to prevent any risk of water-borne illness (sickness due to water and can be issued due to a number of reasons):
 
·         Improper disinfection and/or treatment or water.
·         Loss of pressure in the water system due to a water main break.
·         A community outbreak of water-borne illness.
 
What is the difference between an advisory and an order?
The main difference between an advisory and an order is who issues it. Advisories are issued by a local municipal water system operator in consultation with the health unit and the water operator is responsible for the advisory.

Orders can only be issued by the Medical Officer of Health and/or their designated staff. Orders are issued to individual public establishments with small drinking water system and in high risk cases, to municipal water systems.
 
What is the difference between boil water and a drinking water advisory/order?
A boil water advisory/order is issued when a harmful organism is in the water and it can be removed by boiling your water. Water must be brought to a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute.
 
A drinking water advisory/order is issued when a chemical or mineral is in the water that can be harmful and boiling the water will not make it safe to drink. During a drinking water advisory/order, you must use an alternative source of water. Boiling the water could increase the concentration of the harmful chemicals or minerals.
If you have any questions relating to a boil water / drinking water advisory, please contact your local municipality.

If you have any questions about how to use water when there is a boil water/ drinking water advisory, please contact your local public health inspector at 1-800-830-5978.