Boil Water Advisory Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
DPW Fully Lifts Boil Water Advisory
Effective September 9, 2022, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) received the all-clear from Maryland Department of Environment to fully lift the boil water advisory that has impacted portions of West Baltimore this week. With the action, residents will no longer be advised to boil water before use.
Please view full press release, Baltimore City Department of Public Works Receives All-Clear to End Boil Water Advisory
On Wednesday, September 7, 2022, DPW lifted the Precautionary Boil Water Advisory (BWA) for a portion of Baltimore City and the area of concern in Baltimore County.
Please view full press release issued September 7 2022, DPW Announces Partial Lift of Boil Water Advisory; Required Boil Water Advisory Remains in Effect for a Portion of West Baltimore.
On Monday September 5, 2022, DPW issued a Required Boil Water Advisory (BWA) for residents, businesses, and other facilities in portions of West Baltimore, and a precautionary BWA for residents beyond that immediate service area, advising that drinking water is boiled before consumption.
Please view full press release, DPW Issues Boil Water Advisory for Parts of West Baltimore
To determine if you were inside the water boil advisory boundaries, please check this interactive map.
What is a Boil Water Advisory ?
A boil water advisory is a health announcement that the public should boil tap water before drinking it. Water is likely unsafe to drink without taking extra precaution. Follow CDC guidance for the duration of the advisory.
Why did DPW issue a Boil Water Advisory?
Last Friday, September 2, 2022, DPW took samples from 19 locations as identified on the initial distribution map. Results for one location in the Sandtown and Harlem Park communities – Fire Engine 8 at 1503 W. Lafayette Ave. – came back positive on Saturday, September 3. We immediately notified the Maryland Department of Environment and conducted a second confirmation test and including the police station on 1034 N. Mount Street and a facility at 920 N. Carey Street. These facilities also tested positive.
How did DPW find out about the contamination?
DPW closely monitors and samples drinking water monthly and discovered the contamination during routine testing. The routine testing consists of 90 unique sample locations and 360 samples being collected on a monthly basis.
How were those in the precautionary BWA areas impacted?
Those in the precautionary BWA area, were advised to boil water before consuming.
How long will the Boil Water Advisory be in effect?
On September 9, 2022, DPW lifted Required and Precautionary Boil Water Advisories for residents, business, and other facilities in impacted areas of West Baltimore. DPW has performed several rounds of water quality tests in the initial impact areas of West Baltimore and all results confirm that water is safe to consume.
What is E. Coli?
E.coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Human pathogens in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
How do I determine if my address is included in the Boil Water Advisory?
To determine if you are inside the water boil advisory boundaries,
please check this interactive map.
Residents and facilities can also call 311.
My address is in the precautionary Boil Water Advisory area do I need to boil water or use bottled water?
Yes. If your address is in the precautionary BWA area, you need to boil water before consuming. (See steps listed in question below)
What should I do during a Boil Water Advisory? Boil Water for 1 Minute
Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.If you live in the affected area, you should bring your water to a rolling boil for one minute, then cool it before:
- Brushing teeth
- Washing fruits and vegetables
- Preparing baby food and formula
- Making ice
- Giving to pets
- Washing dishes
- Food Preparation
Residents should discard all stored water, drinks, or ice made recently and can store boiled water in a clean container with a cover. For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Boil Water Advisory webpage.
Can I use tap water to brush my teeth?
No. Use bottled water or boiled water that has cooled to brush your teeth.
Is it safe to take a shower or bath?
Yes, it is safe to take a bath or shower, but be careful not to swallow any water. Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water
Where can I get water?
Water distribution sites have been discontinued. Older adults and homebound residents can call 311 for assistance.
How does the Boil Water Advisory affect food facilities?
Please review factsheet for “Food Facilities Under a Boil Water Advisory” produced by the Baltimore City Health Department.
What do I after the Boil water advisory is lifted?
Residents should take the following steps after the lifting of a boil water advisory:
- Run all cold water taps for fifteen (15) minutes.
- If you have a single-lever faucet, set it to run cold water.
- Begin with the lowest faucet in your home or business and then open the other faucets one at a time, moving from your lowest floor to your highest.
- After fifteen (15) minutes, turn off your faucets in reverse order, from highest to lowest.
- You should also flush your refrigerator's water lines.
- All ice made since the boil water advisory was put in place should be discarded, as well as the next three batches.
- Ice maker containers should be wiped clean with a solution of two tablespoons bleach to one gallon of water.
- Apartment buildings and multi-story buildings should notify all residents, occupants and users of this procedure and flush starting the closest tap to the water connection moving outward.
Residents and facilities that remain under the Required and Precautionary Boil Water Advisory should continue to boil water for one (1) minute before consuming or use bottled water. For more information on Boil Water Advisory Precautions, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Boil Water Advisory webpage.
How do I find out if I was impacted by the recent Boil Water Advisory?
The Required Boil Water Advisory was in effect for the following boundaries:
- West Baltimore: North and South Riggs Avenue to West Franklin Street and East and West Carey Street to Pulaski Street.
Some areas outside of the above areas remain under a Precautionary Boil Water Advisory and should follow boil water precautions.
The maps below show the areas that were under Required and Precautionary Boil Water Advisories . An interactive map is also available.