System Pressure Advisory

Water service issues reported via the Town of Apex Outage Management System will be displayed on the map as a black circle with a number.  The number in the circle represents the number of customers affected by the reported issue.  Clicking on the circle will provide the cause of the incident and if a System Pressure Advisory is in effect for your property or area.   

What is a System Pressure Advisory? Is it the same as a Boil Water Notice?

A System Pressure Advisory is a public notification advising customers to boil tap water prior to consumption, typically in response to an event that could allow contaminants to enter the water distribution system. Such events would include a water main break, small or widespread loss of system pressure, or a natural disaster.  In some cases, field staff can make repairs to a water main while under pressure, which prevents contamination from the soil or bacteria from entering the distribution system.  When this process is used the system pressure advisory will not be issued. 

A System Pressure Advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but rather that it could be contaminated; because the water quality is unknown, customers should assume the water is unsafe to drink and take the appropriate precautions.     A System Pressure Advisory is different from a Boil Water Notice, which is issued when contamination is confirmed in the water.  During a notice, all customers must boil their water before consuming it or use bottled water. 

When a system pressure advisory is issued, the Town will only notify customers affected or served by the water main under repair. 

What should I do during a System Pressure Advisory?

You should boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking (the minute starts when the water begins to bubble). This includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, washing raw foods, preparation of drinks, and water for pets. Wait for the water to cool before using it, or store it in the refrigerator in a clean container. Boiling removes harmful bacteria in the water that may cause illness.

After a system pressure advisory has been lifted and if contamination of the water system did occur you should flush household pipes, ice makers, water fountains, etc. prior to using for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes.

Follow these guidelines for flushing:

  • Run all cold-water faucets in your home for one minute
  • To flush automatic ice makers, make three batches of ice and discard
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle
  • Run drinking water fountains for one minute
  • Run water coolers with direct water connections for five minutes.

Do I still need to boil my water if I have a filter system on my faucet or refrigerator?

Most point-of-use (POU) filters are designed to improve the aesthetics of water (improve taste and odor), not remove harmful bacteria.

Is the water safe for washing dishes, laundry, and bathing?

The water is safe for washing dishes, but you should use hot, soapy water (you may add one tablespoon of bleach per gallon as a precaution) and rinse dishes in boiled water. There are no restrictions on doing laundry. The water is also safe for bathing during an advisory or notice.

How long must a System Pressure Advisory be in effect?

A System Pressure Advisory or Notice will remain in effect until test samples show the water is safe to drink. Testing for bacteria requires 18 to 24 hours to complete, depending on the type of test used.

What are total coliform bacteria?

Total coliform bacteria are a collection of microorganisms that live in large numbers in the intestines of humans and animals, as well as in most soils and surface water. A sub-group of these microorganisms is the fecal coliform bacteria, the most common member being E coli. These bacteria occur naturally in lakes and streams, but indicate that the water is contaminated with human or animal waste and therefore may pose a health risk to people who drink it. The water treatment process removes these bacteria from the water, but events such as a water main break or a loss of pressure in the water distribution system may allow these bacteria to enter water lines through cracks in pipes or back-siphoning from a residential plumbing system. Boiling water vigorously for one minute will kill these bacteria and make water safe to drink.

 How will I be notified if my home/business is affected by System Pressure Advisory?

By regulation, Apex Water System must follow certain public notification efforts.  The number of customers affected by the planned or emergency water main repair will determine the notification process. If this is a planned or minor water main repair the use of door to door notification/door information packets will be delivered. In addition, a text notification and automated phone message will be sent through our outage management service to all affected water customers that did not opt out of the auto-enrollment.   If this is a wide spread notification advisory, customers will be informed utilizing our outage management service text and phone messaging, as well as media outlets, social media, and any other means available.

When would the Apex Water System issue a System Pressure Advisory?

An advisory must be issued in the following instances:

  • Loss of system pressure in small or large sections of the distribution has been identified.
  • A water main break where dirt and debris could have entered the distribution piping
  • Scheduled water main maintenance that would drop system pressure in that local area.

How will I know when the advisory has been rescinded?

When the water samples have been tested and confirmed that the water is safe to drink Water Resources will notify customers utilizing the same methods used to notify you of the System Pressure Advisory.    

Since an advisory is a precautionary measure, will I get sick if I drink the water? What if I drank the tap water before I was informed about the advisory?

Until test results show the water is safe to drink, you should not drink the water without boiling it first. During an advisory, chances are if you are in good health, you will not get sick from drinking the water; however, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems should not drink the water until it is deemed safe to drink. Symptoms of illness caused by bacteria in the water may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. Please note that these symptoms are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, please seek medical advice.