SAWS answers frequently asked questions about boil water notice, low water pressure


SAN ANTONIO – As if this week didn’t have sufficient challenges already with energy outages, icy streets and different winter climate woes, now many individuals within the San Antonio space have been asked to boil their water.

For SAWS clients, the advice got here Thursday and prompted many questions from KSAT viewers.

We reached out to Anne Hayden, SAWS communications supervisor and acquired some answers.

Why is that this being known as a “voluntary” boil advice and never a Boil Water Notice?

At this level, TCEQ shouldn’t be requiring SAWS to challenge an official Boil Water Notice. That requirement is triggered when there are confirmed contaminants within the water.


“By in large we have great confidence in our system, but some of the tanks have been emptied and refilled, so we’re not entirely certain that something might not have intruded into the pipes,” Hayden stated.

Hayden stated that when water pressure drops under 20 psi (kilos per sq. inch) there is a chance for sediment, filth or micro organism to get into the pipes.

“Right now, there’s no indication that happened, but once the pressure is back up we will test everything in our system. Until then, we can’t certify that it’s 100% safe,” Hayden stated.

The SAWS spokesperson added that individuals who haven’t lost any water pressure this week shouldn’t have any challenge with the security of their ingesting water.

Can you drink water that has been filtered by way of your fridge or with a reverse osmosis system at your sink?

A filtration system that simply makes use of carbon filters wouldn’t be ok, Hayden stated. So water out of your fridge would nonetheless have to be boiled. However, you probably have a reverse osmosis system or a UV filtering system, you possibly can drink the water with out boiling it.


What about ice in my fridge’s ice machine?

The ice is just filtered with a carbon filter, so it might not be protected to make use of until the ice was made earlier than any water pressure points. If you could have electrical energy and would love ice, it is best to boil the water first after which make ice with it, Hayden stated.

How lengthy do I have to boil my water and what about utilizing the water for different issues?

The following directions come from TCEQ:

Water for ingesting or different human consumption ought to be boiled and cooled prior to make use of. The water ought to be dropped at a vigorous rolling boil after which boiled for 2 minutes.

Tips for boiling water:

    • Fill a pot with water.

    • Heat the water till bubbles come from the underside of the pot to the highest.

    • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for two minutes.

    • Turn off the warmth supply and let the water cool

    • Pour the water right into a clear container with a cover for storage.

Suggestions for several types of water use:

    • Preparing and cooking meals
      Wash all fruit and veggies with boiled water that has cooled or with bottled water.
      Bring water to a rolling boil for two minutes earlier than including meals to prepare dinner.
      Use boiled water when getting ready drinks, reminiscent of espresso, tea, and lemonade
      Wash meals preparation surfaces with boiled water.

    • Feeding infants and utilizing method
      Use ready-to-use child method, if doable.
      Prepare powdered or concentrated child method with bottled water. Use boiled water should you do not need bottled water. Disinfect water for child method should you can’t boil your water.
      Wash and sterilize bottles and nipples earlier than use.
      If you can’t sterilize bottles, attempt to use single-serve, ready-to-feed bottles.

    • Ice making
      Do not use ice from ice trays, ice dispensers, or ice makers.
      Throw out all ice made with faucet water.
      Make new ice with boiled or bottled water.

    • Bathing and showering
      Be cautious to not swallow any water when bathing or showering.
      Use warning when bathing infants and younger youngsters. Consider giving them a sponge tub to scale back the prospect of them swallowing water.

    • Brushing tooth
      Brush tooth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use untreated faucet water.

    • Washing dishes
      Household dishwashers typically are protected to make use of if the water reaches a remaining rinse temperature of at the least 150 levels or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle.

      To wash dishes by hand:
      Wash and rinse the dishes as you usually would utilizing scorching water.
      In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented family liquid bleach for every gallon of heat water.
      Soak the rinsed dishes within the water for at the least one minute.
      Let the dishes air dry fully.

    • Laundry
      It is protected to do laundry as regular.

    • Pets
      Pets can get a few of the similar ailments as folks. It is a good suggestion to present them boiled water that has been cooled too.

    • Water filters
      Boil faucet water even whether it is filtered. Most kitchen and different family water filters sometimes don’t take away micro organism or viruses.

How lengthy will the boil water advice final?

Hayden stated for some areas, folks could have to boil water for a number of days. SAWS has greater than 200 pump stations, and technicians have to get to all of them and take a look at the water.


If there’s contamination, the pipes will have to be flushed and the water retested.

But she doesn’t count on that all the metropolis might want to boil water for days.

“What we will do is announce the areas that are clear as they are up to full power and get tested,” she stated.

Will there be water distribution?

As of Thursday morning, SAWS officers had been nonetheless figuring out a water distribution plan. They will announce the plan in a while Thursday.

If I’ve low water pressure or no water, ought to I flip the water off on the meter to keep away from issues when the water pressure is restored?

Unless you understand you could have a damaged pipe or a leak, it’s not crucial to show the water off at your meter, Hayden stated.

When the water is restored, it is going to be pushed out at your regular water pressure rate.

“The pressure in the system will gradually build up, it’s not going to turn on like a fire hose,” Hayden stated.


Hayden stated engineers have a technique for which pump stations to convey up and when to convey the pressure up.

“Your water pressure won’t be any higher than it normally is,” Hayden stated.

Is there something I ought to do when full pressure is restored and I get an all-clear on the water high quality from SAWS?

When the boil water advice is rescinded, you’ll most likely wish to run your faucet for a short time to clear the pipes. There could also be some sediment that must be flushed out.

You may wish to take the aerators off of your taps and clear any sediment there.

Hayden stated there’s at all times sediment in our pipes as a result of we’ve got onerous water in San Antonio. When the water pressure goes down, that sediment will get kicked up within the water.

How will I do know if I’ve a water leak?

Other than the very apparent gushing water situations, you could uncover you could have a leaking or damaged pipe should you discover moist spots close to your floorboard or in your carpet. You may see damp spots in your partitions or ceilings you probably have a pinhole break.


When the temperatures heat up, you’ll wish to verify your irrigation system for leaks.

Another technique to verify you probably have a leak is to watch your meter. (Click here for instructions on how to do that.) If there’s numerous water operating by way of your meter, you almost certainly have a leak. If the leak occurred someplace in your aspect of the meter, you will want to name a plumber or repair it your self.

For leaks exterior your property line and on town’s property, you’ll name SAWS.

Read additionally:

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.