Boil water notice

EWEB will issue a boil water notice when the utility believes water quality is, or may be, compromised.

A variety of circumstances can trigger such a notice, including a main break, a drop in water pressure, a natural disaster or vandalism.

After a trigger event has occurred, EWEB will immediately issue a notice as a precautionary measure, as required by law, to help protect the health of our customer-owners. EWEB will then conduct laboratory testing to confirm whether or not water quality has, in fact, been comprised. This testing typically takes one day. If was no actual contamination is present, the boil water notice will be discontinued.

When to use disinfected water: Quick household guide

When a boil water notice is in effect do not use water from any appliance connected to your water lines. This includes water and ice dispensers in your refrigerator/freezer.

Your household may choose to use water from an emergency water supply container that has been stored in your home or purchase bottled water. However, if tap water is still flowing, disinfecting your tap water may be a more convenient option.

To disinfect water by boiling, it should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute. If the power is out you can disinfect water using unscented bleach. Download a printable version of instructions for water disinfection.

See the following table for a quick-reference guide provided by the Oregon Health Authority about which household activities require safe, disinfected water. Download a printable version of when to use disinfected water.

Activities that DO require boiled water Activities that DO NOT require boiled water
Drink (people and pets) Showering
Hand washing Tub bathing
Cleaning food contact surfaces Dishwashing or rinsing*
Washing food served without cooking/baking Laundering
Adding water to food without cooking/baking General cleaning, mopping
Ice making Pet bathing
Taking water with medications Watering plants
Tooth brushing  
Eye washing  

*Cleaned dishes and utensils should be rinsed in water that contains one tablespoon of household bleach per gallon of water and allowed to air dry before use.

Commercial, industrial and institutional customers

EWEB customers that serve the public or have employees on site must immediately put in place alternate procedures when a boil water notice is issued that affects their water service.

  • Discontinue the use of tap water
  • Boiled water can be used. Water that is chemically disinfected in the facility is not allowed.
  • Alternative sources of safe water must be provided for all safe water uses such as drinking purposes, washing of food and food contact surfaces, and for cooking.
  • The facility must be closed if alternative sources are unavailable.
Facilities licensed by Lane County Environmental Health

Licensed facilities can follow Oregon Health Authority’s emergency response guidelines during a boil water notice if tap water is biologically contaminated. When EWEB issues a boil water notice a health inspector will contact the facility to assure that operations include appropriate alternative procedures.

Critical Facilities

Critical Facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes which cannot be closed are required to contact Lane County Public Health for assistance with operations when EWEB has issued a boil water notice. Critical facilities can immediately implement emergency response guidelines for licensed facilities until a health inspector arrives.

For more information about Lane County Environmental Health requirements for commercial, industrial and institutional customers, call 541-682-4480 during business hours or 541-682-4041 after hours.

When the boil water notice is discontinued

  • Flush pipes and faucets. Run cold water faucets continuously for at least five minutes.
  • Flush water coolers. Run coolers with direct water connections for at least five minutes.
  • Flush automatic ice makers. Make three batches of ice cubes and discard all three batches.
  • Drain and refill water heaters that were set below 113°F prior to the boil water notice issuance.
  • Change all filters located at the tap or within an appliance
Frequently asked questions

Read answers to the most commonly asked questions during boil water advisories.