Skip Global navigation and goto content

Environmental Guidelines

Florida Department of Health in Monroe County

Boil Water Notice Guidelines 

Updated: June, 2014

The following procedures must be observed while a “BOIL WATER NOTICE” is in effect:

By Authority of Section 381.006 and 403.855-857, Florida Statutes


-          Do not serve water from faucets until local health authorities advise the water is safe for consumption. Use only bottled water from an approved source and/or boiled tap water. Boil water at a rolling boil for one minute to kill infectious organisms.

-          An alternative method for areas without power is to mix 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented household bleach per gallon ofwater and allow to stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy in appearance, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) and let stand for 30 minutes. (Water will not be toxic, but may have a chlorine odor and taste.) Note: Using bleach will not kill parasites that maybe present, however boiling will kill parasites.


-          Ice bagged or made prior to the issuance of the boil water notice may be used.

-          Ice produced in ice machines after the issuance of a boil water notice must be discarded and machines not restarted until the water supply is deemed safe by local health authority. Sanitize the interior of the ice machine, ice trays and built-in ice-makers with two teaspoons (100+ ppm) of household bleach in one gallon of water prior to restarting the ice machine or ice-maker.

-          Disconnect or turn off water vending machines, drinking fountains, misters, ice-making units and soda machines and prevent their use.

-          Filters in water lines should be replaced if the water supplier detected bacteria in the water samples or if debris accumulation is observed in the filter(s). Information regarding the presence of bacteria will be provided by your water supplier or through the news media.


-          Do not use tap water for handwashing. Use only bottled water from an approved source and/or boiled (and safely cooled) tap water. After proper handwashing, use a sanitizing solution on the hands. This may be accomplished by using a commercial hand sanitizing lotion that requires no rinse or a chlorine bleach solution of two teaspoons of household bleach in one gallon of water. Single-use gloves may be used to provide additional protection after proper handwashing.

-          No bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food is allowed while boil water notice is in effect.


-          Food equipment and utensils and food-contact surfaces that must be cleaned in place (does not fit into a three-compartment sink), may be cleaned with steam with no additives, a sanitizing mix of bottled or boiled water and bleach (50-100 ppm) or other approved sanitizing solution.

-          Do not use tap water for food processing or food preparation until the BOIL WATER NOTICE is lifted by local authorities. Use only bottled water from an approved source and/or boiled tap water for these purposes.


-          Manually wash, rinse and sanitize dishes, food equipment and utensils with bottled water from an approved source and/or boiled tap water utilizing a three-compartment sink in the approved manner. Use single-service articles when possible.

-          Mechanical dishwashers may be used only to remove food residue and debris, if followed by a manual wash, rinse, and sanitization as described above.


-          You will be advised by the local Health Department directly or through the news media when a “BOIL WATER NOTICE” has been rescinded (lifted). AFTER the “BOIL WATER NOTICE” is lifted, allow water to run for five minutes at each tap to flush the lines with safe water. Remember to include misters, drinking fountains, ice makers (discard the first binful), soda machines, etc., when flushing the lines.

If you require further information, please contact your local water supplier. If you have questions about the Boil Water Notice Guidelines, please contact your licensing agency.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: 850.245.5520

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation: 850.487.1395

Florida Department of Health in Monroe County: 305.676.3909