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The City of New Orleans

Plan for Emergencies

Boil Water Advisory

If water is potentially unsafe to drink, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans will issue a precautionary boil water advisory. This announcement advises residents to boil tap water before drinking and usually lasts at least 24 hours. That's how long it takes to test the water. The Sewerage and Water Board will inform you when it’s safe to drink the water.

During a boil water advisory

Don't consume tap water

  • Use bottled or boiled water to drink, cook, brush teeth, and mix baby formula.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with bottled or boiled water. 
  • Don’t use ice from ice trays or ice makers. Make new ice with bottled or boiled water.
  • To be safe, give your pets bottled or boiled water.

Take care cleaning

  • Wash countertops and tables with boiled water.
  • Use a rinse temperature of 150° F or a sanitize cycle on your dishwasher.
  • Wash dishes by hand as usual. Then soak in mixture of 1 gallon of water and 1 teaspoon of bleach for 1 minute. 
  • Do laundry as usual.

Be careful bathing

  • If you’re a healthy adult, you can bathe or shower with tap water. Be careful not to swallow any water.
  • Give babies and young children a sponge bath or use boiled water to bathe.
  • If you have open wounds or a weakened immune system, use boiled water to bathe.
  • Use hand sanitizer after washing hands.

Boil water safely

  1. Heat water until large bubbles come from the bottom to the top of the pot.
  2. Let the water boil for at least 1 minute.
  3. Turn off the stove and let the water cool.
  4. Store the water in a clean container with a cover.
  5. Add a pinch of salt and shake to improve the taste.

After the boil water advisory

  • Run all cold water faucets for at least 5 minutes.
  • Flush ice makers by making and getting rid of 3 batches of ice.
  • Drain and refill hot water heaters if the heater was set below 113° F.