The water we drink can make us sick if it is not properly protected or treated. This is called waterborne illness. CK Public Health works to reduce your risk of getting sick from the water you drink.
What We Do
Our public health inspectors:
- Inspect certain drinking water systems that serve the public
- Enforce drinking water safety laws and provide education to drinking water system operators
- Monitor drinking water systems and notify the public when water may be unsafe to drink
- Provide free drinking water testing to homeowners with private wells
- Help homeowners with private wells understand drinking water test results
- Investigate when people get sick from drinking water
- Educate the public on drinking water safety
Things You Can Do
- Learn about the risks
- Know your responsibilities for private wells
- Get your drinking water tested
- Pay attention to Boil Water Advisories and Drinking Water Advisories
- Report a drinking water concern
Who’s at Risk
Waterborne illness often causes symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms are normally mild, but can be more serious. While everyone can get a waterborne illness, some people are more at risk, including children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions.
Your risk may also be greater because of the source of your drinking water. Untreated surface water, such as water from lakes, rivers and streams, often has bacteria and parasites that can make you sick if you drink it.
Some people get their drinking water from private wells. If a well becomes damaged, surface water and pollution can get into the well, making the well water unsafe to drink.
Protect yourself – do not drink untreated surface water and, if you have a private well, get your water tested regularly to make sure that it is safe to drink.
Sometimes, CK Public Health will issue an advisory warning people that their water may be unsafe to drink. Water advisories are posted here. There are two types of advisories, a Boil Water Advisory or a Drinking Water Advisory.
Boil Water Advisory
CK Public Health will issue a Boil Water Advisory if water is unsafe to drink. Reasons for a Boil Water Advisory might include:
- An outbreak of illness related to drinking water
- A water main break
- Adverse water sample
- Evidence that water may not be properly treated
What to do during a Boil Water Advisory
During a Boil Water Advisory, either find a different water source, such as bottled water, or boil your water for at least 1 minute before using it for:
- Making infant formula
- Mixing juice
- Making ice
- Cooking with water
- Brushing teeth
- Washing raw foods
- Making coffee in a coffeemaker
To boil water, place a pot of water on the stove and heat it until the water comes to a rolling boil.
CK Public Health will notify you when the Boil Water Advisory has ended.
Drinking Water Advisory
CK Public Health will issue a Drinking Water Advisory if water is unsafe to use for any purpose. This may happen if there is evidence that a chemical has entered the water, such as through a toxic waste spill. In this case, boiling the water will not make it safe to use.
What to do during a Drinking Water Advisory
If you receive a Drinking Water Advisory, do not use your water for drinking, bathing or any other purpose. Find a different water source, such as bottled water.
CK Public Health will notify you when the Drinking Water Advisory has ended.
Report a Concern
If you think you have a waterborne illness, see your health care provider. It is important that you wash your hands regularly and stay home from work or school if you have symptoms to prevent others from getting sick.
You can always report drinking water safety concerns to CK Public Health. A public health inspector will follow up with you.