Hurricanes and Public Health Concerns
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about Water Supply
Is my tap water safe to drink?
Flooding due to a hurricane may compromise or contaminate some water supplies,
including the water coming from several large public water companies. During hurricanes
or flooding, state and local officials are monitoring water quality very carefully to ensure
that any potential contaminants are identified quickly and everyone is informed
If it is determined that a water supply is or is likely to be contaminated, official advisories
will be issued stating that consumers should boil or treat their water, use bottled water or
other alternatives until water quality returns to a safe level.
What is the proper way to disinfect my water so that it is safe to drink?
The preferred method of treatment is boiling. Boiling water kills harmful bacteria and
parasites. Bring water to a full ROLLING boil for at least 1 minute to kill most infectious
organisms. If boiling water is not possible (power outages) potentially contaminated
water may be treated with chlorine or iodine tablets. However, this treatment will not kill
To disinfect with chlorine mix six drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented, ordinary household
chlorine bleach (5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water. Mix the solution
thoroughly, and let stand for about thirty minutes. To disinfect using iodine put eight
drops of 2% tincture of iodine in one quart of water. Allow the water to stand at least 30
minutes before it is used.
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