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Disasters, such as floods can gravely compromise public water systems. The conventional and highly appropriate response of municipalities, health departments, and other regulatory agencies in times of water emergencies is to notify all consumers to boil all water used for drinking or culinary purposes until bacteriological samples demonstrate that the water is safe, and/or until appropriate corrective actions have been completed.
Read More on boil water alerts and what to do...
Important reminder following severe flooding: Many home water treatment equipment products (including reverse osmosis systems) do not provide total protection against all types of disease-causing microorganisms that may be present in contaminated drinking water.
In many cases, products will be labeled with a statement such as: “Do not use with water that is microbiologically unsafe or of unknown quality without adequate disinfection before or after the system." Recommendations made in all cases should follow the manufacturer's instructions, if available.
Each manufacturer's equipment is different, and appropriate cleaning and sanitizing procedures may also differ accordingly. Following evidence of serious potential disease-causing contamination or in flood or other disaster stricken areas and after the discontinuance of a Boil Water Alert (BWA) has been issued and the water supply has been declared safe to use and drink, several sanitization steps should be taken to ensure that water treatment equipment is ready to use again.
Similarly, residents who get water from a well must be concerned about contamination of their water supply and should follow basic procedures to clean and sanitize their well and water treatment equipment before use, whenever a water test indicates that well contamination has occurred.
Check out our Flood Resources Page for more information.