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Boil Advisory Information

The City of Johnston purchases drinking (tap) water from the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW).  Des Moines Water Works constantly strives to maintain water quality and safety throughout the distribution system. In certain situations, such as major water main breaks, quality of water in the system can become compromised. In these situations, Des Moines Water Works may issue a boil advisory or a boil order. Des Moines Water Works will notify customers within the affected area via the Code RED emergency notification system, and the media, as necessary. 

Similar to severe weather threats, it’s important to understand the meaning of the water quality warnings. 

A boil advisory (think of a tornado watch) is a precautionary measure issued in situations where a water main break or a large demand such as a fire has created low pressure in the distribution system, but there is no reason to believe water quality has been compromised. In these situations, as a precaution, customers are encouraged to boil water that will be consumed or used for food preparation. Water should be boiled for two minutes and allowed to cool before use.

A boil order (think of a tornado warning) is issued in a situation, such as a major water main break, where there is significant potential for the quality of the water in the distribution system to be compromised. In these situations it is essential that customers boil all water that will be consumed or used for food preparation. Water should be boiled for two minutes and allowed to cool before use. This includes water used for: drinking water (including pets), brushing teeth, baby formula, preparing food, washing produce, and preparing coffee, tea, lemonade, etc. Water is safe to use for showering; however, be careful not to ingest the water. Water used for laundry, general washing and outdoor use is safe to use without boiling. 

To ensure the quality and safety of the water has been restored following a boil order or boil advisory, Des Moines Water Works must perform analyses on two samples from the area, one taken immediately following the issue and one taken 24 hours later. This means a boil advisory or boil order will be in effect for at least 48 hours. Des Moines Water Works will communicate the end to the order or advisory to give customers an “all clear” signal, at which time customers can be confident the water is safe to drink. While these situations are rare, Des Moines Water Works understands boil advisories and boil orders are an inconvenience to our customers; however, there are no compromises when protecting the health of you and your family. 

Stay informed: Sign up for the Polk County’s Code Red emergency notification system here. 

During a major emergency, DMWW will also confirm information and provide details here.