Straight from the Tap

Boil Advisory FAQs

11/30/2021

UPDATE: This boil advisory has been lifted as of 3:00 p.m. on December 1. Test results showed no pathogens were present in any sample. The water is safe to drink and use as normal.

What is a boil advisory?

A boil advisory is a public notice advising customers to boil cold tap water for at least 3 minutes, then let it cool, before consuming. 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 Catlin 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.

What should I do?

First, use this map to determine if you are located 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 your home's water lines by removing aerators and turning on the cold water at all faucets, starting on the lowest floor of your home and working upward. Let the cold water run for at least 3 minutes before turning the faucets off in the order you turned them on.
  • 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 3 minutes.
  • 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, pets, and food preparation until further notice. Water can be used for laundry, bathing or showering as long as it is not consumed.

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Cleveland Water will notify the public once the advisory is no longer in effect.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.

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 water is discolored, why and what should I do?

When a main break occurs, the flow of water can change direction as water is redirected to help restore water pressure and service. When this happens, the change in water flow direction can stir up sediment settled at the bottom of the mains. That means some customers, including some outside of the boil advisory area, may experience discolored water.

Should you experience discoloration, on the faucet closest to where your service line enters your home, remove the aerator screen then turn on the cold water as high as possible. Let the water run for 3 to 5 minutes to see if the water runs clear. If the water clears, remove aerator screens and flush all cold water faucets throughout your home. If the cold water is still discolored after flushing the first faucet for 5 minutes, turn the water off and try flushing again in an hour or so. If water is still discolored, please report the issue to us at 216-664-2639.

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 "Clean, Flush, Consume Cold" steps to reduce possible lead exposure in drinking water. Learn more about lead on our website at clevelandwater.com/lead.

The main break caused damage/flooding to my personal property. Who do I contact?

Cleveland Water attempts to immediately help property owners experiencing flooding from water main breaks. Property owners should also take action when possible to move cars and other property out of the way of floodwater. Property owners should document damage and can submit a claim to the City of Cleveland Law Department.

I still have questions. Who do I contact?

Water quality questions can be directed to our Water Quality Line 216-664-2639. Restaurants, bars, and other establishments that use water in services and products provided to customers should contact their local health department for guidance. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health can be reached at 216-201-2001 during business hours and at 216-201-2000 after hours.