December 9, 2022


pets keep it coming

Is it safe to give my pets Wichita water during boil advisory?

3 min read

Pet owners in Wichita — and surrounding communities that buy water from the city — should give their pets boiled or bottled water until the Kansas Department of Health and Environment gives the “all clear” on the city’s boil water advisory.

That won’t happen until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.

“The same precautions taken to protect humans should be applied to pets,” according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The city and KDHE announced a boil water advisory for Wichita on Tuesday night after high levels of turbidity and cloudy water were detected in the Wichita water supply due to filtration problems at the city’s 80-plus-year-old water plant.

City officials said the “all clear” could come as early as late afternoon or early evening on Wednesday, depending on tests for bacteria in the water. If the tests show bacteria in the water, it could be several more days before Wichita water can be safely consumed without boiling it first.

The boil water advisory could even affect fish owners.

“Aquatic organisms (e.g. fish) should not be exposed to water containing elevated levels of bacteria. If the organism’s water needs to be refreshed, use appropriately boiled or bottled water,” KDHE guidance says.

The boil water advisory applies to the city of Wichita and other public water supply systems that purchase water from Wichita, including Sedgwick County Rural Water Districts 1, 2 and 3; the cities of Valley Center, Kechi and Rose Hill; and El Paso Water Co. (City of Derby).

Until the advisory is lifted, only properly disinfected water should be used for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and brushing your teeth. The safest method for treating water is to boil it for one minute. To do so, bring the water to a full, rolling boil — not just bubbles rising — before you start your timer. Let the water cool before drinking.

To make the water taste better after boiling, add oxygen back to it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. If the water still has a flat taste, you can add a pinch of salt to each quart. If the water is cloudy, you can filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel or coffee filter.

The KDHE offered the following additional tips and things to do during the advisory:

If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.

Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic ice maker.

Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.

Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled. Supervision of children is necessary while bathing so that water is not ingested. Persons with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians.

Sources: KDHE, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This story was originally published June 7, 2022 6:42 PM.

Chance Swaim covers investigations for The Wichita Eagle. His work has been recognized with national and local awards, including a George Polk Award for political reporting, a Betty Gage Holland Award for investigative reporting and a Victor Murdock Award for journalistic excellence. Most recently, he was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. You may contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @byChanceSwaim.