Boil Order

Frequently Asked Questions About Boil Orders

Under what circumstances would a Boil Order be issued?

A boil order is most commonly issued when Public Works crews need to shut down a segment of water main due to an emergency water main break or other maintenance activity.  Illinois rules and regulations call for the immediate issuance of a boil order for any emergency which results in water pressures falling below 20 pounds per square inch.  The boil order in this case is precautionary and does not mean that the water has tested positive for microbiological contamination.  It is simply a precautionary measure until proper testing can be completed.  Notification is made by Public Works to those consumers affected.

During the day, Public Works staff will go door-to-door to issue boil order notification.  If a customer is not home, a red door tag will be left on the front door.  An additional tag will be left near the garage or other conspicuous location in case a home owner does not normally enter through their front door.

Sometimes, a boil issue needs to be issued overnight.  The Village does not have the ability to target specific addresses via phone or email contact. In the precautionary scenario above, Public Works will not ring door bells in the late evening or overnight hours, but will simply hang door tags for the residents to see in the morning.  If the water is ever confirmed to be contaminated, much more notification will take place including news and media outlets, reverse-911 calls, and other methods.  But for a precautionary boil order with no confirmed contamination, only the door tags will be hung overnight.

What does a boil order mean?

It means the water that comes out of the tap should not be used for drinking, brushing your teeth, cooking, or washing fruits and vegetables. You should use only bottled water or water that has been boiled for five minutes for these activities.

How long should I boil my water for?

The affected tap water should be brought to a rolling boil for five minutes before being used.

How long will the boil order remain in effect?

Each boil order situation is different, making it impossible to predict how long the boil order will remain in effect. It will not be lifted until testing shows that the water meets public health standards.  However, in general, a routine boil order and verification testing window will take between 24 and 48 hours to complete.  Once a boil order has been lifted, Public Works will go door-to-door again and issue green tags to notify residents that the water has tested safe and the boil order is no longer in effect.

Do I need to flush out the water system in my house following a routine boil order?

If a precautionary boil order was issued via red tag, and a green tag has been issued to clear it, then no.  The water tested safe and no contamination is known to have occurred.  If the water ever tests positive for microbiological contamination, more instructions will be issued at that time.  

Additional Resources

Sample Boil Order Tags

Boil Order Tags