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Boil water notice

A boil water notice is a precautionary notice that is issued when the bacterial level is higher than allowed or when the treatment process is compromised. The notice is to inform people connected to the water supply about this risk and help safeguard the health of the people consuming the water.

What you need to know

Have a read of the below key information so you know what to do when a boil water notice is issued for your water supply. 

A boil water notice is issued:  

  • if tests show that harmful microorganisms could be present in the water 
  • at times of high turbidity in the source water (meaning that large amounts of silt make the water dirty) 
  • if the water pressure drops due to equipment failure or power outages 
  • because of a break in or repairs on a water main 
  • if the water source has been flooded or there is a significant inflow of stormwater 
  • during situations that warrant special action to protect consumers' health. 

A boil water notice does not mean that the tap water you drink will make people seriously ill, but it does mean that the bacterial level is higher than allowed by law or that the treatment process is compromised.

Boiling the water kills micro-organisms that can cause disease. Bring tap water to a full rolling boil, let it boil for one minute and then let it cool before using. 

Boil all water used for: 

  • drinking 
  • washing and preparing food 
  • preparing baby formula 
  • cleaning teeth. 

Boil water even if you have a water treatment device. They are designed to improve taste, odour or chemical quality of the water but will not remove harmful micro-organisms from tap water. 

If you cannot boil your tap water: 

  • use bottled water 
  • treat tap water by adding 1 teaspoon of household bleach per 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes. 
  • water purification tablets may also be used to disinfect tap water by following the manufacturer's instructions 

You can treat your water in two ways before drinking it to make your water safe to consume:  

  • Bring the water that you drink to a boil in your kettle or keep it at a rolling boil in a saucepan for 1 minute   
  • Hand chlorinate your storage tank with household bleach. 

You can also choose to drink bottled water, although this is the most expensive option.

Nearly all household filters provide no protection against bacterial contamination. If you have an under the sink carbon filter or cartridge filter, you still need to boil your water.  

If you have a high quality cartridge filter followed by an Ultraviolet disinfection unit which are well-maintained and supply water to your entire house, there is no need to boil your water. 

  • Notifications will appear as a water alert on Council's website
  • Alerts are posted to Council's Facebook page 
  • Regular broadcasts will be made on local radio station CoastFM 
  • We will issue notifications via email. You can sign up on our website. 

Council will advise the community when the boil water notice can be lifted through the same channels. 

Any questions?

Please contact:

  • Buller District Council – 0800 807 239/03 788 9111 (Westport)
  • 03 732 8821 (Reefton) 03 732 8092 after hours

To receive email notification sign up to Buller District Council's email list and receive key information about your local water supply straight into your email inbox.