Boil Order

Why must I boil my water?
A Boil Order has been issued to your water system because either recent testing has shown the presence of organisms that could cause illness (e.g. fecal or E. coli bacteria), or technical/physical problems in the water system have significantly increased the possibility of bacterial contamination.

Under what circumstances would a Boil Order be issued?
Illinois rules and regulations call for Boil Orders under the following conditions:

  • Any emergency which results in water pressures falling below twenty (20) pounds per square inch on any portion of the distribution system shall be reason for immediate issuance of a Boil Order by the owner of official custodian of the supply to whose consumers effected.
  • Whenever contamination is determined to persist in a public water supply, as demonstrated by microbiological analysis results, the owners or official custodians of the supply shall notify all consumers to boil for five (5) minutes all water used for drinking or culinary purposes. This Boil Order shall remain in effect until microbiological samples demonstrate that the water is safe for domestic use, or until appropriate corrective action approved by the Agency is taken.

How can I make my water safe?
Boiling the water is the best way to ensure that it is free of illness-causing organisms. Bring water to a rolling boil for a minimum of thirty-five (35) minutes. When it cools, refrigerate the water in clean containers. (A pinch of salt per quart may improve the rather “flat” taste of boiled water.) If you do not want to boil your water, you can disinfect it by adding 1/8 teaspoon of bleach (common household bleach containing 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water. Do not use bleach containing perfume, dyes, or other additives.

Can I use bottled water?
Buying bottled water may be a feasible alternative to boiling water. Bottled water operations are routinely inspected, and samples are periodically analyzed to ensure they meet health standards.

 Can I give my pets tap water?
Although pets are not normally affected by the same diseases as humans, caution suggests giving pets pre-boiled or bottled water.

During a Boil Order, can I use my tap water for…

Drinking No
Ice cubes No, and existing ice cubes should be thrown out. See below for information on ice machines.
Brushing teeth No
Baby’s formula No
Washing fruit/vegetables No
Washing hands See below
Washing dishes See below
Coffee, tea, lemonade, etc. No. See below for information on soda dispensers and coffee makers.
Preparing food No
Showers or baths See below
Laundry Yes. Since there is minimal risk in laundry other options may be considered such as using bleach in the rinse cycle or avoiding laundry until the Boil Order has been lifted.
Watering grass or garden Yes, but fruits/vegetables must be washed using pre-boiledor bottled water before consumption.


Can I wash my hands using tap water?
It is recommended that you wash your hands using soap and either bottled water or pre-boiled water. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer may also be used.

Can my family take showers or baths using tap water?
The risk of bathing or showering in tap water is uncertain and should be avoided, particularly by people with open wounds or who are immunocompromised. For those people who choose to shower or bathe in the tap water, minimize the time spent in the water and be sure to keep your eyes and mouth closed. Babies and young children should not bathe or shower in tap water because they often swallow some water accidentally.

Can I wash dishes using tap water?
You may use a dishwasher if it has a sanitizing cycle. If it does not have a sanitizing cycle, or you are not sure if it does, you may hand wash dishes and utensils by following these steps:

  • Wash dishes as you normally would.
  • As a final step, immerse the dishes for at least one (1) minute in lukewarm water to which a teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water has been added.
  • Allow the dishes to completely air dry.

Can I use my coffee maker, ice machine, water or soda dispenser?
None of these devices should be used if they are directly connected to your water supply. Also, filters are unacceptable for removing bacteria. Once you have been notified that the Boil Order has been lifted, these devices should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized according to the operator’s manual for the device.

How long will the Boil Order remain in effect?
Each Boil Order situation is different, making it impossible to predict how long the Boil Order will remain in effect. It will not be lifted until testing shows that the water meets public health standards.

Additional information:


How to read your bill – Coming soon

How to locate a leak

If you think you have a leak, please check out these common problems. Even a very small leak in your home can add up quickly and increase your monthly water bill.

  • Toilets – Check the toilet for leaks by removing the top of the tank and listen for water running. If you hear water running, try to determine where the water is coming from.  NOTE, you will not always hear water running when your toilet is leaking.

Suggestions to check for a possible toilet leak:

  1. Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank to color the water. Do not flush.  Wait several minutes and check to see if the coloring has seeped through to the bowl.  This would indicate a leak.
  2. Shine a flashlight into the overflow tube. This should be dry.
  3. Water level in the toilet tank should be a minimum of 1″ below the overflow tube.


  • Indoor and outdoor faucets – check for drips.
  • Shower heads – check for drips.
  • Water heater tank – check for water leaks or stains underneath.
  • Dishwashers and clothes washer – check for drips or stains underneath or behind these appliances.
  • Water softener – make sure it is recycling properly. Check the discharge line for any flow.  There should be no flow unless the softener is regenerating.
  • If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, it is important to check to see if it has any leaks.


The Godley Public Water District is not responsible for repairing leaks inside your home.  You should determine if you can repair the leak yourself or if you need to call a plumber.