Water Pollution Control

Make Sure Your Water is Safe

Assume that all water sources are contaminated until proven safe. Purify all water used for drinking, cooking, and for washing eating and cooking utensils unless the Water Department has declared it safe. Also purify the water you use to wash your hands, body, and all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.


  • Do not use water that has a dark color, an odor, or that contains floating materials.

  • To disinfect water, use one of the four following methods:
    1. Boil at a rolling boil for three to five minutes.
    2. Add 16 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Make sure the bleach has no active ingredient other than four to six percent sodium hypochlorite.
    3. Add 20 drops of two percent iodine per gallon of clear water or 40 drops per gallon of cloudy water.
    4. Add water purification tablets according to directions on the package. These tablets can be bought at most drug and sporting goods stores.

  • Thoroughly mix these solutions and let the water stand for at least 30 minutes before using. If the water does not have a detectable chlorine smell at the end of this time, repeat the dose. If the water doesn't have a slight bleach odor at the end of another 15 minutes, try to find another source of water.

  • Always use clean or purified water to wash any parts of the body that have come in contact with surfaces contaminated by flood waters.

  • Water in water pipes should be safe to drink if the valve on the main building water line was closed before the flood. Also, it may be possible to have non-contaminated water in the toilet flush tank (not the bowl) which could be used. If the tank is not clean or if the water has set in it for more than 24 hours, do not drink it.

Previous | Back to Fact List | Next


A Clear Commitment to
Clean Water