Boil Water FAQs

There are several reasons why you may be asked to boil your tap water:

  • If tests show that harmful microorganisms could be present in the water
  • If the water pressure drops due to equipment failure or power outages
  • Due to water main breaks or repairs
  • If the water source has been flooded
  • Due to any other situations that warrant special action to protect consumers’ health

How will I know when it is safe to drink my tap water?

You will be notified when tests show that the tap water is safe to drink. You may be asked to run water to flush the pipes in your home before using your tap water or be given other special instructions. Until you are notified, continue to boil all tap water for one minute before use.

What should I do if I become sick?

See your family physician or healthcare provider. Your doctor may call the Virginia Department of Health - Office of Drinking Water at (804) 864-7500 for information about the boil water notice. Your doctor should notify the local health department if he or she suspects your illness was caused by microorganisms in the water.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants. People with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be at greater risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. Guidelines on ways to reduce the risk of infection from microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791.

Image of boiling water on stovetop

Be sure to bring your water to a full rolling boil for one minute.

General Information

Boiling Water for Consumption

Boiling Water for Hygiene and Cleaning

Safety of Alternatives to Boiled Tap Water