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Cooking, drinking and showering: What can you do under Tampa's boil water notice?

The water is considered safe to drink and cook with after it has been boiled.

TAMPA, Fla. — It wasn't exactly good timing near the dinner hour: People living in the city of Tampa and many more Hillsborough County communities being asked to boil their water.

A large water main break happened during the late afternoon Monday at the David L. Tippin Water Treatment Facility, and efforts are ongoing to fix it.

RELATED: Boil water notice expands into Hillsborough County following Tampa water main break

The precautionary boil water notice in effect for Tampa and the communities of Eastlake, Fairview, Herschel Heights, Pebble Creek, Palm River and Seaboard provides some guidelines to disinfect the water before consumption. Hillsborough County says, at this time, it's unlikely there is any contamination in the system, but it's still a good idea to boil the water.

Afterward, the water is considered safe to drink, cook with, use for making ice and for brushing teeth, according to the city. It also is considered safe to shower in non-boiled water, the county says.

Clothes can be washed after allowing water to run clear for some time.

It's OK to wash and sanitize dishes, but take care not to ingest any of the water, the Florida Department of Health said. Water that goes through reverse osmosis also should be boiled.

Consider boiling water for your pets, too.

It's also OK to water plants and gardens with tap water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most cases, the CDC says, it is fine to wash your hands with soap and water with tap water amid a boil water notice.

Here are a few guidelines provided by the city to properly boil tap water:

  • Bring the water to a rolling boil and holding it there for one minute. Aerate the boiled water by pouring it from one container to another several times to improve the "flat" taste left by boiling, then refrigerate for best results.
  • Use bleach if you cannot boil your water. Add eight drops (about 1/8th teaspoon) of bleach for one gallon of tap water, shake, then let stand for 30 minutes before drinking. Use food-grade containers and unscented common household bleach that has 5% to 6% active ingredients. If the water is cloudy, use 16 drops, about 1/4 teaspoon of bleach, instead of 8. There should be a slight chlorine odor.
  • Use water purification tablets or iodine that many sports and camping stores sell.

The break at the Tampa water treatment facility caused water pressure to fall, prompting the precautionary boil water notice.

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