Main Content

Some facts about boil orders

Our patrons have asked some interesting questions today about the boil order that -- as of 2:30pm Monday, June 23 -- is still in effect in Rensselaer until further notice.

The City of Rensselaer told our staff this afternoon they have to wait on the all clear from IDEM before the order can be lifted, so there is no estimate on when that will happen at this time. You can check the city's website for the latest information.

EDIT: The city lifted this boil order at 5:50pm (CDT) on June 23.

Some basic facts about boil orders: they can be caused not just from a break, but also from low pressure or other water system difficulties. They are designed to prevent illnesses from bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants.

When a boil order is in effect, you should use bottled water or water that has been in a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes - and then cooled - for drinking, brushing teeth, washing dishes, washing food or washing hands. Showering or bathing in untreated water is fine as long as it doesn't enter your mouth. Instruct children not to do this. Infants should be sponge bathed in treated or bottled water. Laundry with untreated water is safe.

If you have a pet, you should treat their drinking water the same as you would treat water for yourself and your family. Animals may not be able to handle some kinds of contamination any better than a human.

If you are washing your hands in untreated water, you should consider other types of cleaners including sanitary gel or wipes, but keep in mind they not prevent all kinds of contamination.

Boil orders are common, and if followed correctly, the water will be safe to consume.

For more information, check out the CDC's Guides on What to do During a Boil-Water Advisory [Spanish] and What to do After a Boil Water Advisory. [Spanish]

Source: http://www.cookcountypublichealth.org/files/pdf/BoilOrderFAQs.pdf and https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/boilwater/faq_residents_and_homeowners.htm