- Public Works
- Water Division
- Precautionary Boil Water Notice
Precautionary Boil Water Notice
Businesses and non-residential sites should take steps such as posting notices at or disabling water fountains and ice machines during the Precautionary Boil Water Notice. If you provide water to visitors, customers, or employees, use commercially produced bottled water for drinking or beverage preparation (coffee). Food service operations have additional requirements from their regulatory agency.
Why are Precautionary Boil Water Notices issued?
Precautionary Boil Water Notices may be issued because the water system loss of power, loss of water pressure, a water main (pipe) break or another unforeseen emergency. Water pressure keeps pollutants from entering the underground pipes that bring drinking water to your house or business. The notice does not mean that the water is contaminated, it means it is possible that contaminants seeped into the pipes and affected the drinking water. Until required bacteriological testing is completed, we recommend, as a precaution, boiling tap water before consuming it to kill any potential contaminants (or by using bottled water).
Is Eastlake Woodlands or Hillsborough County affected?
No, those areas are not affected. If you or your neighbor received an automated message it was because our Code Red alert system picked up that phone’s prefix.
How long should water be boiled?
Vigorous boiling for at least one full minute is the safest and most effective method of disinfection. Fill a pot with cold water and start timing when steady streams of bubbles pop from the bottom of the pot. Water must be adequately cooled before it can be used for washing or brushing teeth. Store the boiled water in clean, covered containers. Using bottled water is also an option.
What if I accidentally drank tap water before I learned about the Precautionary Boil Water Notice?
Nothing has been found, this is just a precaution. If anything is found, we will issue an alert which would include the symptoms.
Should I use bottled water?
Water from an alternative water source is the best option during a boil water advisory. When bottled water is available, it is a good alternative to boiling water.
Can I wash my hands in tap water during the notice period?
Use tap water and soap for hand washing and basic hygiene, but if you are washing your hands to prepare food, use bottled or boiled water.
What about brushing teeth?
Use bottled or boiled water to brush teeth.
Can I take a shower?
Yes. Just be careful not to drink the water while you shower or bathe.
Though the risk of illness is minimal, individuals who have recent surgical wounds, are immunosuppressed, or have a chronic illness may want to consider using bottled or boiled water for cleansing until the notice is lifted. If any further questions related to surgery, transplant, open wounds, etc., please contact your physician. They know the details of your particular situation.
Is it okay to bathe my toddler/child?
Yes, but pay close attention so that the water is not consumed.
What about washing dishes?
Hand-washing dishes: Wash with hot soapy water, then use boiled water to rinse.
Dishwasher: If the hot water reaches at least 170 degrees or the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle and includes a full dry cycle, this will be sufficient.
Can I wash food with tap water?
Fruits, vegetables and other foods should be washed with bottled or boiled water only.
Can I use tap water for making coffee, tea, lemonade, baby formula, frozen juice, or other beverages?
No. Water intended for drinking must be boiled before using it to make beverages or use bottled water.
Can I use my ice maker during the notice?
Ice already in the freezer when the water pressure drops and before the Precautionary Boil Water Notice is issued is safe. When the notice is issued, turn off your ice maker. When the notice is lifted, if no contamination has been found, then you do not need to flush your ice maker before using it.
Does a water filter or a water softener system protect me?
No, water softeners and filtration systems catch larger particles, like sand and silt. They do not filter out micro-organisms. For under-sink filters, read the manual. If in doubt, boil.
Should I take the same precautions for my pets?
Yes, although pets may have a higher tolerance level, it is better to use caution and take the same preventative measures.
Can I use tap water to water my grass or garden?
Yes, but fruits and vegetables must be washed using boiled or bottled water before consumption.
If the street next to my street is under a Precautionary Boil Water Notice, will the same precautions apply to me?
No, the notice is issued only to those residences and businesses whose water has the chance of contamination.
When will the Precautionary Boil Water Notice be lifted?
After the water system is repaired, and the pressure is restored in the pipes to your home or business, the Precautionary Boil Water Notice will remain in effect while bacteriological tests are conducted to assure the safety of the water. The notice will be lifted (rescinded) only after the required testing proves the water is safe to drink. The rescission will be delivered the same way the original notice was.
Why didn’t I hear about this on the news?
All the news media were notified. Unfortunately, we can not control whether or not they broadcast the news.
How is the public notified?
Typically, Precautionary Boil Water Notice areas are isolated and affect only a small number of customers. In these cases, notification is provided directly to the customers.
However, there are instances when a large-scale Precautionary Boil Water Notice is issued. In these cases, where notices cannot be delivered directly to the City of Oldsmar water customers, the City will issue a Code Red Alert (reverse 911) emergency call out, along with providing information to local media and posts on the City’s web site, Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Alert Pinellas system allows City emergency officials to notify those affected by an incident by their geographic area. Residents and businesses can sign up to receive telephone calls, cell phone calls, texts and/or e-mails. Only authorized officials have access to the Alert Pinellas system.
To register for Alert Pinellas please visit: http://www.pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas/
If you need assistance, you can call the City’s Water Division at 813-749-1226 and speak with someone who can register for you.
**The employees of Oldsmar, your public water system, take great care in assuring that your water is safe to drink. We appreciate your cooperation with the precautionary boil water notice to protect public health during this difficult time. Please call us at the phone number above if you have questions or concerns. **
For general questions about drinking water quality:
Call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
Food-service business owners/managers:
Please contact the Florida Department of Health.
The pressure to my water is back and the water is yellow or milky, what should I do?
Flush your house lines for at least 10 minutes. The milky color is typically caused by air entering your lines during the repair.
If flushing does not fix the problem please call: 813-749-1226.