What should I do during a Boil Water Advisory or Notice?

During the Advisory/Notice

You should:

  • Boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking (the minute starts when the water begins to bubble). This includes water used for:
    • Brushing teeth
    • Making ice
    • Washing raw foods
    • Preparation of drinks
    • Water for pets
  • Boiling removes harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness. 
  • Wait for the water to cool before using it, or store it in the refrigerator in a clean container.
  • Throw away ice made during the time the advisory or notice was issued, as freezing does not kill bacteria.


After an advisory or notice has been lifted (if contamination of the water system did occur), you should flush household pipes, ice makers, water fountains, etc. prior to using for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes. 

Follow the these guidelines for flushing:

  • Run all cold water faucets in your home for one minute
  • To flush automatic ice makers, make three batches of ice and discard
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle
  • Run drinking water fountains for one minute
  • Run water coolers with direct water connections for five minutes.

Show All Answers

1. What is a Boil Water Advisory? Is it the same as a Boil Water Notice?
2. What should I do during a Boil Water Advisory or Notice?
3. Do I still need to boil my water if I have a filter system on my faucet or refrigerator?
4. Is the water safe for washing dishes, laundry, and bathing?
5. How long must a Boil Water Advisory or Notice be in effect?
6. What are total coliform bacteria?
7. How will I be notified if my home/business is affected by an advisory or notice?
8. Under what circumstances will Williamsburg County Water and Sewer issue a Boil Water Advisory or Notice?
9. Why must the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issue a Boil Water Advisory in preparation for a hurricane?
10. How will I know when the advisory or notice has been lifted?
11. Since an advisory is a precautionary measure, will I get sick if I drink the water? What if I drank some water before I found out about the advisory?
12. What are a Do Not Drink Notice and a Do Not Use Notice?