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Pockwock Water Transmission Main Connection Project

FAQ - Boil Water Advisory



How do I boil my water during an advisory?

  • Boil water using a pot, a kettle on the stove, an electric kettle without an automatic shut-off or a microwave oven.
  • Heat the water until bubbles come from the bottom of the pot.
  • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat source and let the water cool.
  • Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage
  • Please see “Boil Water-How To” fact sheet at, or call 490-4820.        

Why do I have to boil my water?

Under the permit issued to Halifax Water by Nova Scotia Environment (NSE), when the Chain Lake back-up water supply is activated, a boil water advisory (BWA) has to be issued. This is due to the fact that the Chain Lake water supply is not filtered and therefore does not meet the Nova Scotia Treatment Standards for Municipal Drinking Water Systems. This does not mean that the water is necessarily contaminated, but an unfiltered water supply increases the risk of gastrointestinal illness, particularly in immune-suppressed persons.


Should I use bottled water?

You may choose to use bottled water if it is available.


How long will the Boil Water Advisory last?

The boil water advisory will remain in effect until further notice. Halifax Water is working to restore full water service to affected customers as soon as possible. We will continue to provide updates and will notify customers immediately when the advisory is lifted.




I drank unboiled water. Will I get sick?

Most people who drink this water will not get sick. If you do get sick, the symptoms are similar to food poisoning: nausea, diarrhea, cramps, and possibly a mild fever.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Contact your health care provider or call 811. 




Can I use my coffee maker?

  • Use boiled or bottled water to make coffee. Commercial coffee machines can be used during a boil advisory if they maintain temperatures within the water tank of 88C – 90C, or if liquids, upon leaving the machine funnel, have a minimum temperature of 72C.


Can I use my ice machine or water or soda dispenser?

Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water lines. This includes water and ice dispensers in your refrigerator/freezer. Use boiled or bottled water to make ice.


What about ice?

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


What should I do about preparing food and beverages? How should I wash fruit, vegetables, and food preparation surfaces?

  • Wash fruits and vegetables with cooled, boiled or bottled water.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute before adding food to cook.
  • Use boiled or bottled water when preparing drinks, such as coffee, tea, and lemonade.

What should I do about feeding my baby?

  • Breastfeeding is best. Continue to breastfeed. If breastfeeding is not an option:
    • Use ready-to-use formula, if possible.
    • Prepare powdered or concentrated formula with bottled water. Use boiled water if you do not have bottled water.
    • Wash and sterilize bottles and nipples before use.
    • If you cannot sterilize bottles, try to use single-serve, ready-to-feed bottles. 


How do I wash dishes during a boil water advisory?

Dishes may be washed in tap water, either by hand or machine.




Should I give my pets boiled water?

Pets can get some of the same diseases as people. It is a good idea to give them bottled water or boiled water that has been cooled.


Do I need to worry about my fish or aquatic pets (e.g., reptiles, frogs)?

Most germs that infect people do not infect reptiles or fish. Since chlorine levels in the water may increase, be cautious about changing the water in your fish tank or aquarium. Contact your local pet store or veterinarian for more advice.


Is it safe to water my garden and house plants?

You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.




Can I use tap water to brush my teeth?

Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water.


Is it safe to take a shower or bath?

Yes, it is safe to take a bath or shower, but be careful not to swallow any water. Use caution when bathing infants and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.


What about shaving?

Yes, you can shave as usual.

What about doing laundry?

Yes, it is safe to do laundry as usual.


Where can I get more information?

You can get more information by calling Halifax Water’s Customer Service Centre at 490-4820.