All Community and Non-Transient-Non-Community Water Systems in south/central Vermont are strongly recommended to turn on your disinfection until the state of Vermont Water supply staff can visit your site. If you have had a power outage, flooding of any wells or infrastructure damage the Vermont DEC Water Supply Division requires you to disinfect your water.
BOIL WATER ADVISORIES
What is a Boil Water Advisory? Is it the same as a Boil Water Notice?
A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is a public statement advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it. Advisories are issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become contaminated. An advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but rather that it could be contaminated; because the water quality is unknown, customers should assume the water is unsafe to drink and take the appropriate precautions.
An advisory is different from a Boil Water Notice, which is issued when contamination is confirmed in the water system. During a notice, all customers must boil their water before consuming it or use bottled water.
When should A Boil Water Advisory be issued?
A “Boil Water Advisory” should be issued when an event has occurred which could have possibly contaminated the drinking water. The following are some situations where a boil water advisory may be warranted:
- The malfunction of any treatment plant such that effluent turbidity levels are elevated above the standard.
- Loss of pressure in the entire distribution system or a significant portion of a distribution system.
- A line break where dirt and debris have entered the distribution piping.
- If untreated water reaches the distribution system due to submergence of storage tanks, treatment facilities or sources of supply in flood waters.
- The use of emergency groundwater sources that have not been sampled or flushed on a regular basis.
Please note that the above situations are not the only times that a boil water
advisory should be issued. The Water Supply Division can assist anyone in making a decision to issue a boil water notice/advisory, as well as assist in determining what actions should be taken to correct the problem and when to repeal the alert.
Distribution of the Boil Water Advisory
There are several means by which the notice or advisory may be distributed. If the water
system or affected area of a water system is relatively small, a written notice/advisory may be hand delivered to the door of each residence. In addition to the door to door delivery, a copy of the notice/advisory should be posted in places normally frequented by the residents, such as post offices, convenience stores, gas stations, etc. The notice/advisory must never be placed in mail boxes because many residents
may have already checked their mailbox for the day and thus may not receive the alert
until the next day. Also, placing non-mailed items in a mailbox is a federal offense.
If the affected area is large, the notice/advisory should be made by electronic media such as local radio and television stations. Public water systems should also be prepared to provide advisories for non-english speaking consumers.
Communication with the Division
If you need to reach the Water Supply Division, for a critical issue, use the pager number – 802-741-5311. For additional information call Tim Raymond – 802-241-3419 or Jean Nicolai 802-999-2246.
How long must a Boil Water Advisory be in effect?
An advisory will remain in effect until test samples show the water is safe to drink. Testing for bacteria requires 18-24 hours to complete, depending on the type of test used. The samples are incubated to actually grow bacteria, if any are present. As a result, advisories will be in effect for at least 18-24 hours.
Public water systems will dispatch crews to begin surveying damage and making repairs immediately after the storm. If sample test results show that the water has been contaminated by bacteria, the PWS will issue a Boil Water Notice; if tests show the water is safe to drink, the PWS will lift the advisory.
See the following page below for additional information regarding Drinking Water Advisories.