Don't drink contaminated water, Florida officials say

boiling water pot
Posted at 11:15 AM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 09:51:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Boil water before drinking it if it's under a boil water notice to kill harmful bacteria, germs and parasites and keep from becoming ill, Florida health officials said.

The Florida Department of Health said don't assume a water supply in a storm-affected area is safe to drink.

Heavy rainfall, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding, can contaminate water and cause gastrointestinal illness, DOH said in a news release Thursday.

Boil water notices are issued by local utilities and posted on the DOH website.

DOH issued general rules for cooking and drinking:

  • Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, or make ise. Use only safe drinking water.
  • If you use bottled water, know where it came from. Drink only commercially-available bottled, boiled, or disinfected water until your supply is tested and deemed safe. Otherwise, water should be disinfected or bot coiled and cooled before use.
  • Water can be disinfectd by adding eight drops of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6 percent strength), which is about 1/8 tsp or a dime-sized p[uddle per gallon of water. If a higher strength bleach is used (8.25 percent) only add 7 drops of bleach. Mix the solutin and let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure once. Iodine or other disinfection tablets (available at many sporting goods departments and stores) may also be used.

Water containers should be rinsed with a bleach solution of one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water before reusing them.

Use water storage tanks and other types of containers with caution. For example, fire truck storage tanks and previouslyused cans or bottles may be contaminat ed with microbes or chemicals.

For further information, contact your local county health department or visit or

When severe weather and other emergencies occur, you can count on active alerts from the department's official social media accounts.

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