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A public water system may issue a boil advisory when there is concern a problem with drinking water may exist, but it has not yet been confirmed. This may be done, for example, while waiting for results of confirmation samples collected for bacteriological analysis, which can take up to two days plus the time required to transport samples to the laboratory.
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A boil advisory is to a tornado watch as a boil order is to a tornado warning. A tornado watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of a tornado development in your area. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or is indicated by radar.
A boil order is issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to public water systems when a threat to the public health exists, or is likely to exist, that boiling the water will remedy. The public water system is then required to notify consumers as soon as possible, and by the most effective methods, that need to boil their drinking water.
The following steps need to be taken:
Note: Let water cool sufficiently before drinking (approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing or using backyard pools so water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.
The presence of E coli bacteria is a common cause for issuing a boil order. Other instances include low water pressure and inadequate levels of chlorine at systems that require chlorination. High turbidity levels, cross connections, inadequate treatment techniques and the presence of other microbial pathogens such as Giardia or Cryptosporidium are potential causes for boil orders that occur less frequently.