WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A boil water advisory has been issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) for Norwich in Kingman County and Fowler in Meade County.

The KDHE said it issued the advisories because the towns’ water systems lost pressure. That can lead to a loss of chlorine residuals, putting the water at risk for bacterial contamination.

The KDHE notes that this advisory is not related to COVID-19.

Both communities are asked to observe the following precautions until further notice:

  • If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.
  • Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation or use bottled water.
  • Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic ice maker.
  • Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
  • Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.

The advisory took effect on Monday, Jan. 3 and will remain in effect until the conditions that placed the system at risk of bacterial contamination are resolved.

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding boil water advisories and answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Can I wash my hands?
    • In many cases, you can use tap water and soap to wash your hands. Be sure to wash them for at least 20 seconds. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Can I wash my dishes and/or surfaces?
    • It is reccommended that you use disposable cups, plates, and utensils. However, you can wash dishes and/or surfaces under certain conditions.
  • Can I use water filtering devices?
    • If you use water filtering devices, they may not be sufficient enough to take out all of the bacteria out of the water. That’s why the KDHE recommends that you don’t use ice from those appliances.
  • What about my pets and farm animals?
    • These precautions need to be followed for animals.
  • May I brush my teeth with tap water?
    • It is recommended that you do not use tap water to brush your teeth. Even if you do not swallow water while brushing your teeth, you are still going to ingest some of the water that lingers.
  • Can I still wash my laundry?
    • You can use tap water to run your laundry.
  • Can I water my plants?
    • You can use tap water to water plants, including gardens and vegetables.

Only the KDHE can rescind a boil water advisory. That will happen after a certified lab gives the all-clear on water samples from the towns.

For consumer questions, the KDHE asks you to contact the water system or KDHE at 785-296-5514. For consumer information, please visit KDHE’s Consumer Information webpage.

Restaurants and other food establishments that have questions about the impact of the boil water advisory on their business can contact the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s food safety & lodging program at kda.fsl@ks.gov or call 785-564-6767.

Be safe and make sure to boil your water or consider buying a water filtration system like the AquaOx Water Filter.

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