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Boil Water Notice - Frequently Asked Questions

Update on Kawerau District Council's Boil Water Notice

The boil water notice that was issued on Saturday 4 January 2020 for all Kawerau residents using the Kawerau district water supply was lifted on Tuesday 7 January 2020. For any further updates from Kawerau District Council, please see their website.

Boil water FAQs

How does boiling make my tap water safe?
Boiling the water kills microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or protozoans that can cause disease. Boiling makes the tap water microbiologically safe.

How long should I boil the water?
Bring tap water to a full rolling boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using

Can I boil water in the microwave?
Tap water can be boiled in the microwave in a microwave-safe container, provided that the water reaches a full rolling boil for one minute. Place a microwave-safe utensil in the container to keep the water from superheating (heating above the boiling point without forming steam or bubbles).

How long is boiled water safe to drink?
Once the water has been boiled, you can cover it and put it in the refrigerator for later use. As long as the water is protected from contamination, it will stay safe to drink.

Do I have to boil tap water used to make beverages?
Yes. Boil all of the tap water you use for making coffee, tea, mixed drinks, Kool-Aid or any beverage made with water. In addition, all tap water used for making ice for consumption must be boiled.

Do I need to boil water before using it to wash vegetables that will be eaten raw? What about general cooking?
Yes. Boil all tap water you use for washing raw vegetables. All tap water used in cooking must first be boiled for one minute, unless the cooking process involves boiling for one minute or more.

Should I boil tap water for brushing my teeth?
Yes. Any tap water that might be swallowed should be boiled before use

Can I use the water from the tap for other purposes?
You can continue to use tap water for bathing, showering, washing dishes (see below) and clothes during a Boil Water Notice, as long as you take precautions that no one drinks it. Toddlers and young children are most at risk of accidental ingestion during bathing, so need to be watched carefully

Is it necessary to boil water to be used for hand washing? Is any special soap necessary?
No. It is not necessary to boil the tap water used for washing hands, and no special soaps are necessary.

Do I have to boil my dish-washing water?
No. Adding a tablespoon of household bleach to a sink full of tap water should be sufficient to treat the water used for washing dishes. Bleach should also be added to the water used for rinsing dishes. Allow dishes and utensils to air dry before reuse.

You may wash dishes in an electric dishwasher but be sure to use it with its heating elements turned on. After washing in an electric dishwasher, dishes should be rinsed in water with a tablespoon of bleach added and allowed to air dry before reuse.

Can I use my coffee maker?
Most coffee makers cannot maintain high temperatures for a long enough time to make the water safe to drink. Coffee can be made by using water that has already been boiled for one minute before adding to the coffee maker or made using bottled water. If you are using an automatic shut-off kettle, make sure the water has boiled for one minute before you use it.

Can I use my activated charcoal filter system to treat my water?
No, these filters are not designed to remove microbiological contamination from an unsafe water supply. If you ran water through your filter during a Boil Water Advisory, the filter can also get contaminated. It is recommended that you throw away the filter and replace it with a new one once the Boil Water Notice is lifted.

How do I safely prepare my baby’s formula during a Boil Water Notice?
You should sterilize all bottles, rings, utensils and nipples in boiling water for two minutes. You should boil water at a rolling boil for 2 minutes to sterilise it and then let it cool before mixing it with formula for your baby.

Is the water safe to drink for pets?
Pets and livestock can usually drink untreated water, however you may like to care for your pets the way you care for yourself and give them bottled or boiled water. If you have concerns due to vomiting or diarrhoea, seek medical advice from a veterinarian.

Last modified: 09 Jan 2020
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