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Safe Water

Elevated Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water

Small Drinking Water Systems

Boil Water Advisory: Mandatory Guidelines for Retail Food Services

This page was reviewed or revised on Thursday, September 22, 2011 2:46 PM

If a Boil Water Advisory is issued retail food services MUST follow these guidelines:

  1. All water given directly to customers for drinking MUST be from 1 of 3 sources:
    • Commercially bottled water
    • Tap water treated by boiling water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute
    • An alternate source of water proven to be safe (i.e. nearby community).
  2. Store water in clean, sanitized, covered containers until used.
  3. Turn off the water supply to drinking fountains.
  4. Post signs at all sinks to tell staff and patrons not to drink the water.
  5. Wash all fruits and vegetables with one of the recommended water sources described in #1.
  6. Water used as an ingredient in ready-to-eat foods (i.e. not subject to further cooking) MUST be from one of the water sources described in #1.
  7. On-site ice machines cannot be used during a Boil Water Advisory. Empty the ice machine. Use commercially prepared ice. Disinfect the water lines when the Advisory is lifted.
  8. Commercial dishwashers that use hot water at 82°C (180°F) or above are safe to use.
  9. All soft drink beverage lines linked to tap water for mixing must be removed during the Advisory. Use bottled or canned beverages. Lines to soft drink canisters MUST be disinfected before reusing.
  10. Any employee with diarrhea or related symptoms MUST be barred from food handling activities until symptoms have ended. Employees should seek medical attention and submit a stool sample for severe or long-lasting symptoms of illness. Good handwashing with warm, soapy water is a must for all staff
  11. If the Advisory has been issued because of a water-borne illness, wash hands under warm, running water and soap. Then:
    • Dip hands in a freshly prepared hand disinfectant solution (5 ml of liquid bleach in 4.5 L of water) for a few seconds; or
    • Use alcohol-based hand cleaner with more than 60% alcohol.


If you have any questions, contact the County of Lambton Community Health Services Department 519 383-8331 or toll-free 1-800-667-1839.

Dated May, 2006


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