The Difference Between a Company Issued Boil Water Recommendation versus Boil Water Advisory
NJDEP Boil Water Advisories
Whenever events occur such as a large water main break, widespread loss of water system pressure, power outage or treatment disruption that has the potential of allowing contaminants to enter the water system, Middlesex Water, at the instruction of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, will issue a “boil water advisory”. This is a notification issued as a preventive measure if there is actual or the possibility that water quality could be compromised. In these NJDEP mandated advisories, we will notify the media, OEMs, health departments and affected municipalities, notify affected customers through our DIRECTAlert notification system, post information on our website and post via our Facebook and Twitter platforms.
Company Boil Water Recommendations
During routine repair work, we may issue a boil water recommendation by placing door hangers on residences potentially affected. This is different from an “advisory” because this type of notification is not required by our environmental regulators and typically affects only a small number of homes or streets as repair work on the water mains may be occurring in these areas. The Company employs this “abundance of caution” approach as a protective measure for customers because we feel that our customers should know that there is the potential, no matter how small, that during repairs, the water may not be up to our normal standards where there is a risk that contamination may occur, largely due to external environmental conditions. While these boil water recommendations may be an inconvenience to customers, they are a true example of how Middlesex Water Company goes above and beyond regulatory requirements to ensure the public health protection of the communities we serve. The Company feels that all customers, from new parents caring for young infants to the immuno-compromised, to pet owners, all have a right to know, even when it is not required by Federal or State regulation, of the potential that water quality may be compromised by repair work in their area.
Regardless of its classification as an advisory or recommendation, the action is the same.
Customers should bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute and then allow to cool before using for drinking, cooking or washing. Typically a boil water event lasts for 24-48 hours allowing water mains to be flushed, tested and lab results obtained to confirm water is safe to drink. An acceptable alternative to boiling tap water is to use bottled water, if on hand and available.
What happens when there is a main break?
When a main break occurs on our system, our crews work around the clock in all types of weather to make the needed repairs and restore water service as quickly as possible. While repairs are being made, however, customers may experience temporary low pressure, no water and/or discolored water. Be sure to check this Alerts section as well as our Facebook and Twitter feeds to get up-to-date information on breaks in your area and any associated boil water recommendations or advisories and follow the necessary instructions. You may report a water emergency using our convenient online water emergency web form.
Sometimes you may experience an uneven or pulsating stream of water from your faucets or fixtures when you first use them. This is usually caused by a small amount of air trapped in your plumbing lines and will resolve itself after a few minutes through normal water usage. When pipelines in the streets are disturbed due to repairs or flushing in your area, mineral sediments may sometimes break loose and cause rust or dirty-looking water. The sediments are harmless mineral deposits that naturally occur in water.
Below are some helpful tips in the event that a main break occurs in your area.
Customer Tips Related to Main Breaks
- Should a boil water advisory be issued by the Company, we will make every effort to notify you via doorhanger or via the contact information you have provided to our Customer Service department or through ourDIRECTAlert notification system.
- Check our Service Alerts section on our website and our social media sites for information or updates if you suspect a break. These sites may also include any traffic advisories related to road closures associated with main repair work.
- If you experience discolored water, simply run the cold water for 15 to 20 minutes until it clears after the repairs are completed.
- Check for discolored water before using the washing machine or dishwasher. Wait until the water runs clear at the tap before doing laundry or running the dishwasher.