Boil Water Notices
A Boil Water Notice (BWN) is a public statement advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it. Boil Water Notices are issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become contaminated. Events could include a water main break, widespread loss of system pressure, or a natural disaster. A BWN does not mean that the water is contaminated, but 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. During a notice, all customers are advised to boil their water before consuming it or use bottled water.
Our crews work very hard during a water main break to limit the need for a boil water notice. In most cases, our crews can isolate a main break by closing the nearest valves, then repair the pipe, disinfect it, and flush it before putting it back into service. However, due to pumping and various elevation changes in our Eastern Service Area (Alpine, Harbison Canyon, Crest, Blossom Valley), the area is more susceptible to boil water notices than more populated city areas. Water line breaks can cause pressure to drop, especially in an elevated area. State regulations require us to issue a BWN if the water pressure drops to 5psi or less. This is because the low or no pressure can cause unwanted debris to get into the pipelines.
After a BWN is issued, we are required to take water samples and have two consecutive sets of results showing no contaminants before the notice can be cancelled. The samples must be taken 24 hours apart and the results from these samples can take up to 24 hours to receive, so typically it takes at least 48 hours to cancel a boil water notice. Canceling a BWN is done at the discretion of the California State Department of Public Health.
How will I be notified of a Boil Water Notice?
Padre Dam uses an automated phone notification system to notify
customers during emergencies. We must have your current phone number listed on your account to receive a call from Padre Dam during an emergency. We are also adding email to our notification process. All information on Boil Water Notices is posted to our website during the emergency and communicated to media outlets. To update your information please email or call Customer Service at 619-258-4600. Customers can also sign up to receive email or text notification at www.padredam.org and click on Notify Me.
What should I do during a Boil Water Notice?
You should boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking (the minute starts when the water begins to bubble). This includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, washing raw foods, preparation of drinks, and water for pets. Wait for the water to cool before using it, or store it in the refrigerator in a clean container. Boiling removes harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness. Throw away ice made during the time the advisory or notice was issued, as freezing does not kill bacteria.