Boil Water Notice FAQs
When a boil water notice is in effect, consumers need to boil tap water before drinking, using for food preparation or cleaning. This is used when bacteria is present in the drinking water, or there is the potential for bacteria to be present in the drinking water.
Most people who happen to drink this water will not get sick. However, babies, young children, the elderly and people who have compromised immune systems are more at risk of illness. If you or your family get diarrhoea, vomiting and/or a fever, contact Healthline (0800 611 116) or your doctor immediately.
During boil water notices you should boil all water used for drinking, preparing food, making baby formula and juices, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth. Make your ice cubes with boiled water. Hot water from your tap is not safe to drink during a boil water advisory as the temperature of your hot water cylinder is not high enough to kill germs.
Boiling will kill all disease-causing organisms. Bring water to a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute. Electric jugs with a cut-off switch can be used as long as they are full - allow the water to come to the boil and switch off. Once it’s cooled store the water in clean containers in your fridge.
Get the latest information
If there’s important information about anything water related, from burst pipes to planned water works, you can get this directly from the Council by:
- Downloading the Antenno app from the App Store or Google Play
- Subscribing for text and email alerts updates.
If you don’t have a cell phone ask a close family member, friend or neighbor to join on your behalf and they can keep you updated.
If you hear about a boil water notice please help us by spreading the word to friends and family especially if you know they're not online.
Each boil notice situation is different which makes it hard to predict how long the boil order will remain in effect. It will be lifted when the water tests show the water is safe to drink
Thorough handwashing using tap water and soap followed by thorough drying is sufficient. Other options include using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
Adults and older children may shower/bathe with untreated water, but do not swallow the water (avoid the face). Young children should be sponge-bathed because they can often swallow bath water. If you have recent surgical wounds or a chronic illness, you may want to bathe in bottled or boiled water.
Only use boiled or bottled water for brushing your teeth. You can shave as usual using tap water.
No. Filtered water should also be boiled for one minute before using it.
Fruits and vegetables should be washed using cooled, boiled water. Use boiled water if adding to foods that will not be cooked. Tap water can only be used in foods that will be thoroughly cooked. Do not use ice, food or drinks that may have been made from contaminated tap water.
If breastfeeding, continue as usual. If you are using baby formula, prepare using bottled or cooled, boiled water. Wash and sterilise bottles and teats by boiling or
Coffee machines, ice makers and soda dispensers that are connected to the water supply should not be used. Use bottled water or water that has been boiled or disinfected for making coffee, ice or soda drinks.
Dishes washed with tap water and detergent should be rinsed in a bleach solution afterwards (1/2 teaspoon unscented household bleach per 10 litres of water). Allow dishes to completely air dry.
If your dishwasher has a hot/sanitizer setting, it can be used to wash dishes. If your dishwasher does not have a hot setting, after finishing cycle, rinse the dishes in sterilised water afterwards (1/2 teaspoon unscented household bleach per 10 litres of water). Allow dishes to completely air dry.
No, continue doing your laundry the way you usually do.
Pets and livestock can usually drink untreated water. If your pet is unwell, has vomiting and diarrhoea, contact your veterinarian. Make sure you wash your hands well after handling your pet and use rubber or disposable gloves if you are cleaning up after it.
Run all your cold taps for a few minutes before using the water. Flush any appliances that are connected to the water supply. Hot water cylinders and header tanks may need to be drained and refilled. You may notice a strong chlorine smell in the water as it runs through. The council will increase chlorine levels for some time to disinfect the pipework.
It’s recommended that you clean your tank every 2-3 years to reduce the amount of sediment in in.
You can learn how to clean your tank and chlorinate water from the Ministry of Health's Household Water Supplies booklet.