Instructions for Post-Boil-Water Order

What to do after a Boil Water Order is lifted

Residents are advised to "flush" their water following the lifting of a boil order in order to clear plumbing of potentially contaminated water. Flushing your household and building water lines includes interior and exterior faucets; showers; water and ice dispensers; water treatment units, etc. Please use the following guidance:


Cold Water Faucets:

Run tap water until the water feels cold, one minute or more, before drinking, brushing teeth, or using for food preparation.  If you have a single-lever faucet, set it to run the cold water first.

Hot Water Faucets:

To clear hot-water pipes and water heater of untreated water, flush the hot water line for a minimum of 15 minutes for a typical household 40-gallon hot-water tank, 30 minutes for an 80-gallon hot water tank or larger.  Hot water is then safe to use for washing hands, and for hand-washing of dishes, pots and pans, etc.  Never use water from the "hot" faucet for drinking, cooking, or other internal  consumption purposes.


After flushing hot water pipes and water heater, run dishwasher empty one time.


Discard any water used in humidifiers, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), oral, medical, or health care devices, and rinse the device with clean water.

Food and Baby Formula:

Discard baby formula and other foods prepared with water on the day or days of the boil order.  If unsure of the dates, contact you water department.

Refrigerator Water-Dispensing Machine:

Water dispensers from refrigerators should be flushed by at least one quart of water.  If unsure of your dispenser's capacity, refer to manufacturer specifications.

Ice Cubes:

Automatic ice dispensers should be emptied of ice made during the boil water order and run through a 24-hour cycle, discarding the ice to assure purging of the icemaker water supply line.  For medical, dental, and food-service establishments, please refer to the guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Due to the flushing of the lines by residents and the flushing of the hydrants, some customers may experience a lack of water pressure and/or discolored water. However, this is an expected result and does not pose an immediate health risk. Contact your local water department if you have any questions.

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