Boil Water Orders: What to do

On occasion, a boil water order will be issued by North Gualala Water Company under the guidance of the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water. These orders are issued as precautions when water pressure drops too low or there are other health concerns with the water supply.

Here’s what you need to know in order to safely follow these orders when they are issued.

Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.  This is the preferred method to assure that the water is safe to drink.


Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice. 

 Optional alternatives:

  • An alternative method of disinfection for residents that are not able to boil their water is to use fresh, unscented, liquid household bleach.  To do so, add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before using.  A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this disinfection procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place.
  • Water disinfection tablets may also be used by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

North Gualala Water Company will inform affected customers when it the water has been deemed safe to use as normal and you can stop boiling your water.

What is the potential risk if I don’t boil or treat my water as recommended above?

We cannot quantify every risk but we always work proactively when it comes to the health and safety of our customers. The water company works under direction of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water (one of the water company’s many governing bodies) to determine when a boil water order must be issued to ensure that no one becomes ill if a broken water line or other compromising situation has occurred.

When can I stop boiling my water?

Affected customers will be notified a second time when the boil water notice has been lifted. Sometimes this takes a few days if a series of bacteriological samples must be taken to determine that the water is clear of contaminants.

What water do I have to boil? 

Water for consumption should be boiled. That includes water for cooking, brushing teeth, and drinking.

What can I do instead of boiling my water?

Customers may opt to disinfect their tap water with bleach (see above for the method) or water disinfection tablets according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Bottled water may also be used.

I use a Brita water filter at home. Isn’t that good enough?

North Gualala Water Company does not certify or sell any type of water filtration system so it cannot offer advice or opinions about the efficacy of these types of filters. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.

I want to talk to someone at the state about this. Who can I call?

The office of emergency services can be reached at 1-800-852-7550, 24 hours a day.

What can I do to help when there is a boil water order issued?

Follow the boil water guidance in your home. Please share the information with all the other people who drink this water in your immediate area, especially those who may not have received the notices directly from North Gualala Water Company (for example, vacation rentals in your neighborhood or when the power is out and some people do not have phone service).