What is a Boil Water Advisory?


What is a Boil Water Advisory?
A Boil Water Advisory is a public notification informing water customers of Johnston County Public Utilities to boil their tap water before using it for drinking purposes, typically in response to an event that could allow contaminants to enter the water distribution system. Such events would include scheduled water line maintenance, water main breaks, small or widespread loss of system pressure, power outage or a natural disaster.

How will I be notified if my home/business is affected by a Boil Water Advisory?
When we issue a boil water advisory, we notify only the customers affected or served by the water main repaired. If it is a planned or minor water main repair, door hangers will be used for notification. If the water main repair involves a large volume of customers or occurs after normal business hours, JCPU will utilize the JoCoAlerts Notification System to call the phone number listed on your utility account. If the boil water advisory is widespread, Public Utilities will utilize the JoCoAlerts Notification System, post information on our website, and utilize available media and radio to inform the public of the boil water advisory. (Phone numbers can be updated by calling 919-989-5075).

What should I do during a Boil Water Advisory?
Tap water should be boiled vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using. The minute starts when the water begins to bubble. Water should be boiled for the following uses: drinking, cooking, ice making, washing dishes, brushing teeth, preparing food or drinks, and watering animals. Wait for the water to cool before using or store in the refrigerator in a clean container. Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water lines. Boiling removes any harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness.

Is the water safe for bathing and laundering clothes?
The water is safe for bathing and laundering clothes because these bacteria can only cause harm to your body if they are swallowed. Use caution when bathing a toddler or baby. Consider giving them a quick rinse at the sink or a sponge bath since they can very easily swallow bath water.

How should I wash dishes during a Boil Water Advisory?
Household dishwashers are generally safe to use if the final rinse temperature reaches 150 degrees or the dishwasher has a sanitation cycle. To hand wash dishes, use hot soapy water (you may add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon as a precaution) and rinse the dishes in boiled water.

How long must a Boil Water Advisory remain in effect?
An advisory will remain in effect until the water line is repaired and bacteriological sample results have determined water is safe to drink. Typically, this is a minimum of 24 to 48 hours from the time of repair.

How will I know if the Advisory has been lifted?
JCPU will lift the boil water advisory when the results from the testing have confirmed that the water is safe to drink. Depending on how you received notification, will decide how you will be informed that the Advisory is lifted and water is safe to drink (door hanger/JoCo Alerts Notification/or media and radio).


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Johnston County Public Utilities

Physical Address:
Land Use Center
309 E. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2263
Smithfield, NC 27577

  • Email:

  • Phone:
    Main - 919-989-5075
    Pay by Phone - 844-845-2151

    After Hours Emergency - 919-934-9411
  • Fax:
    Business Office - 919-934-0256
    Engineering Office - 919-934-7174
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