Straight from the Tap

Boil Advisory FAQs


What is a boil advisory?

A boil advisory is a public notice advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it. Cleveland Water is required by the Ohio EPA to issue a boil advisory under certain circumstances.

Why is there a boil advisory?

In this case, a break on a 54-inch transmission main on Highland Road near Harris Road in Richmond Heights caused water pressure in the affected area to drop below acceptable levels. When this happens, there is a potential for pathogens to enter the water system.

How long will the advisory be in effect?

Cleveland Water will notify the public once the advisory is no longer in effect. A typical boil advisory lasts between 24 and 48 hours. How long depends on how quickly water quality testing can confirm the water is safe.

What should I do?

First, use this map to determine if you are in the affected area. Customers in the affected area should not drink the water until after it is boiled, following these steps:

  • When water pressure is restored, flush all faucets used for drinking and cooking for by turning on a cold water faucet and letting the water flow at full strength for at least 3 minutes.
  • Next, fill a pot with cold water and cover it with a lid.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil and let it boil for at least one minute.
  • Last, let the water cool before using it.

Alternatively, customers can use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, making formula, and food preparation until further notice. Water can be used for bathing or showering as long as it is not consumed.

Does my in-home water treatment system or water filter/pitcher provide protection?

No! These systems and filters are not capable of removing pathogens. You should boil your water or use bottled water.

My house is not located in the boil advisory area but my water is discolored, how come?

To restore service, water in our distribution system was redirected from other mains. When this happens, the change in water flow direction can stir up sediment settled at the bottom of the mains. That means people outside of the boil advisory area may experience discolored water. Should you experience discoloration, turn on the faucet closest to where your service line enters your home and let the water run for several minutes. Customers experiencing discolored water may want to refrain from doing laundry as it may stain light-colored fabric.

What if I don’t feel well?

The likelihood of becoming ill is low. However, illness may be possible, especially for people who have a chronic illness or are immunocompromised. Anyone experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps should seek medical attention. These symptoms are not unique to exposure to potential contaminants in the water, and a doctor's involvement is key to identifying the cause of your illness.

What about the main break?

The break occurred on a 54-inch transmission main. Transmission mains are like highways, they move water from treatment plants and pump stations to smaller distribution mains, meaning no homes or fire hydrants are directly connected to it. Due to the size of the main, the break resulted in a large volume of water being released and damaging the roadway. Crews are working to make the repair as quickly as possible. However, we anticipate that it will take several days to complete. Repair to the roadway will require additional time after the main is repaired.

Do I have to worry about lead in my water?

Ohio EPA regulations require us to notify customers located in areas that may have lead service line connections that there may be a temporary increase in lead levels in the drinking water caused by loss of pressure. If you think you have a lead service line, the USEPA recommends the "Flush, Clean, Consume Cold" steps to reduce possible lead exposure in drinking water. Learn more about lead on our website at