Boil Water Notice

Learn about Boil Water Notices and what you should do if you are issued with one.

A Boil water notice tells you that it is not safe to drink water from your tap. Before you drink it, you must boil and cool it.

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Check to see if you have a Boil water notice on your water supply

When we issue a Boil water notice

We regularly monitor and test all water supplies. If we find harmful bacteria or pathogens in water samples, we:

  1. consult the Health Service Executive (HSE), Ireland's public health authority
  2. tell affected customers if our consultation with the HSE determines there is a risk to public health
  3. place a Boil water notice or Do Not Consume notice on the water supply
  4. tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  5. investigate the cause of the issue and correct it

To protect public health, we sometimes issue a notice before test results confirm the risk. For example, if a disinfection system fails or a water source is polluted.

Using water in a boil water notice

During a Boil water notice

It is not safe to drink water straight from your cold or hot tap.

You must boil and cool your water before using it.

Home water filters do not guarantee your water is safe.

How to boil and store water safely

Bring your water to a vigorous boil for 1 minute, for example in an electric kettle.

Allow the water to cool before use.

Fill a container with the boiled water, then store it somewhere cool, like your fridge.

Safety information

Be very careful when handling hot or boiling water. Accidents like burns and scalds can easily happen, especially with children.

When to use boiled and cooled water

  • Drinking, drinks made with water and filtered water
  • Brushing your teeth or water for gargling
  • Making ice (throw away existing ice cubes)
  • Preparing foods which you don't cook, like salads or fruit
  • Giving drinks to pets

When it's ok to use tap water

  • Showering

  • Bathing

  • Flushing the toilet

Children and infants

How to care for children and babies during a Boil water notice.

Bathing

Make sure that babies or children don't drink or swallow their bath water. You might want to sponge bath them while there is a Boil water notice in place.

Baby formula and feeds

Advice from the HSE:

You can prepare infant formula during a Boil water notice using:

  • tap water that you have boiled for 1 minute and cooled
  • bottled water that you have boiled for 1 minute and cooled
  • ready-to-use formula that does not need added water
  • always sterilise baby bottles and do not wash them with tap water

Natural mineral water can contain high levels of minerals, including sodium. If you cannot get other water, use natural mineral water to keep your baby hydrated. However, use it for as short a time as possible.

Food businesses

The HSE has guidance for food businesses on using commercial appliances during a Boil water notice. This guidance only applies to food businesses, such as cafes and restaurants. It does not apply to private homes. If you have questions about the guidance, contact your local Environmental Health section of the HSE.

Water for animals

Pets

Avoid giving tap water to your pet while a Boil water notice is in place. If you have questions, talk to your local vet.

Livestock

We put Boil water notices in place to protect human health. Outdoor animals, such as cattle and horses, are exposed to higher levels of bacteria than humans. Talk to your vet if you have concerns about animals drinking water during a Boil water notice.

Customers with health concerns

Customers with health conditions that need a safe water supply should register with Irish Water as a vulnerable customer. Irish Water will directly contact all registered vulnerable customers immediately if a Boil water notice or Do not consume notice is imposed.

If you have other health concerns, it's best to talk to your doctor or GP.