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What is it safe to do under a boil water notice?

Washing dishes, showering and caring for pets all take on an extra layer of caution when you're under a boil water notice.

ODESSA, Texas — While some Odessans are finally getting water back following a major water line break Monday, there is still a ways to go before it's declared safe.

Crews are hoping to test the water Thursday morning after the plant recharges. It takes about 24 hours to get test results back to ensure the water is safe and free from harmful bacteria.

Until the water is declared safe, citizens are under a boil water notice.

But what does a boil water notice mean, and what is safe to do?

The CDC has the following recommendations for being safe while under such a notice:

  • Use boiled or bottled water for all drinking and cooking
  • Boil tap water even if it is being filtered
  • To boil water, bring it to a full rolling boil for one minute then allow it to cool

As for other household activities, here's what you can and can't do with unboiled tap water according to the CDC:


  • Wash your hands ( scrub for at least 20 seconds)
  • Take a shower or bath (do not ingest the water and sponge bathe children)
  • Use a dishwasher IF yours has a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees or has a sanitizing cycle
  • Hand wash dishes (use hot water and add 1 tsp of liquid bleach to let dishes soak after being washed but before air drying)
  • Laundry
  • Water your plant or garden


  • Use appliances connected to your water line (such as water or ice machines)
  • Brush your teeth
  • Clean washable toys and surfaces
  • Take care of pets (provided bottled water instead)

For more information on the CDC's recommendations, you can click or tap here.

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