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boil water orders


perky
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I was curious how often people have had to deal with boil water (or worse -- don't even touch it) orders in their areas.  I'm thinking continental United States.  We had had at least two a year for the last two years.  Is this common?  I'm in South Texas.

 

Funny story -- I heard about our last water advisory on the national news instead of from local sources.  I happened to be up at 3:30 in the morning, and they were talking about my city.  It was a Don't drink It, Don't Bathe in It, Don't even touch It order.

 

Every few months, we also get extra doses of chlorine through our water system for several weeks, to further disinfect it.  It tastes like swimming pool water during that time.  I won't let my pets drink it, although I will boil pasta in it for my family.

 

So... how many boil water or water advisories have you all had in the last couple of years?

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In the town we live in now, where we have two rivers that flood from time to time, we have a boil water order about once every ten years.  (So, it has happened just twice in the 20+ years we've lived here.)  Besides this town, I have never experienced it before.

 

ETA:  During those times, the city covered all water fountains (including in the schools, office buildings, etc.) with black garbage bags!

 

 

Edited by J-rap
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Only after a hurricane. I remember one after Isabelle in 2003, but I think that's it. Dd was 1 and I had to take her the ER shortly after the hurricane had hit and left. There was a woman there who had drunk the water and was sick. I don't think she had understood the water restriction/warning. There was definitely a language barrier.

Edited by jewellsmommy
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We've had two in the last fourteen months or so. Same water main, but in different places, broke. The most recent break dropped the water pressure in our town so low that they had to cancel school for a day, because they were afraid the toilets wouldn't flush!

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In my region it seems like there is always one going on. In my town we had three or four the first year we lived here and maybe one more in the four years since. The county is a different water district and they have had 2-3 in the past 4 years.

 

They usually put signs up at the entrance to the neighborhood and the local Facebook page keeps people informed too. However, if you don't leave the house you may not notice.

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One time when I was growing up, in an older part of my town in Southern California. Up here? Never. Not even close. But we literally have some of the best water in the country with a glacier fed lake, wells, and no industrial contamination near either.

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Ours have nearly always been caused by a pump failure. The treatment plant is old and apparently maintainence was not proactive until recently.

 

My husband frequently works in WV. After all the flooding last year (maybe 2 years ago) certain areas were under don't touch the water even for showering orders. I can't remember the reasoning behind it, but it was several weeks before they could drink the water again in certain areas.

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We've had one (Puget Sound region) in the 17 years we've been here.  When I lived in CA prior to that, we never had one, though I did live in a house in the Santa Cruz mountains that had its own well where, looking back on it, we probably should have been boiling the water.  It's ability to deliver water seemed to hinge on how long it had been since it last rained...

 

My grandmother also had one that lasted a really long time.  She lived about an hour outside of Prescott, AZ, in pretty much the middle of nowhere. 

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I've heard of them happening in my area, but we've never had one affecting us (mid-sized city). I've lived in this house ~12 years.

 

That said, I only look at local news once or twice a week, so I might not hear if there was one.

Edited by whitehawk
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In IL, don't remember ever having one.

 

In WV [eta: NOT a flood-affected area], 4-5 a year.  Our subdivision in particular has some serious water main issues.  Wish we had known that before moving in... It is only a standard boil order though, never "don't touch or bathe."  The town isn't great about communicating to residents that one is starting or ending.  They'll put up a couple of signs, take them down and call it good.

 

Our water bill is much higher here, also.

Edited by Cecropia
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I'm in the NJ suburbs and I've never dealt with one as an adult.  I may have as a child but I don't remember.

 

I have had private wells for a good portion of my adult life though.  We have a softener and a filter for our water supply but we still don't give it to our snake.

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Twice since we moved in here in September, and once we had brown, opaque water without a warning.

 

I've always liked having my big berkey filter but I've grown prit-tee attached to it lately!

 

I don't remember having any other boil water orders.

 

It was a local problem all three times. We just happened to get the short end of the stick.

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This is all very interesting to me.  Usually it's a lack of disinfectant in our water and fear or actual e coli contamination.  Something about water not moving through the system quickly enough so the disinfectant evaporates.  Of course, they never lift the water restrictions to let us have water flow through the system more quickly, but why would they?  That would be logical.  Instead, they run several fire hydrants open into the streets many times a month.  We can't use the water and neither can anyone else, apparently.  It's so frustrating living here.

 

Our water boil orders typically last 2 to 7 days.

 

 

Edited by perkybunch
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They have happened in various parts of town when there is a water main break. It has been a handful of times over a 20 year period.

 

Same here, but a bit more often. Probably several times a year in our town but not for the whole town. Our water pipes are super old and are failing.  They generally last less than 36 hours. 

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There is about one a month somewhere in my county. Some of those are specific to areas due to water main breaks and similar. Others affect the entire water system. It seems some systems in my county have them more often than others. My neighborhood doesn't have them often.

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