BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued a boil water advisory for two areas of Butler County. One is the City of Douglass public water supply system. The other is a portion of Butler County Rural Water District 6. The portion affected is the area south of 160th Street.

Customers should observe the following precautions until further notice:

  • Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation or use bottled water.
  • Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker.
  • If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears.
  • 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.

The advisory took effect on July 18 and will remain in effect until the conditions that placed the systems at risk of bacterial contamination are resolved. KDHE officials issued the advisory because of a loss of pressure in the distribution systems. Failure to maintain adequate pressure may result in a loss of chlorine residuals and bacterial contamination.

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding boil water advisories and answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Can I wash my hands?
    • In many cases, you can use tap water and soap to wash your hands. Be sure to wash them for at least 20 seconds. If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Can I wash my dishes and/or surfaces?
    • It is reccommended that you use disposable cups, plates, and utensils. However, you can wash dishes and/or surfaces under certain conditions.
  • Can I use water filtering devices?
    • If you use water filtering devices, they may not be sufficient enough to take out all of the bacteria out of the water. That’s why the KDHE recommends that you don’t use ice from those appliances.
  • What about my pets and farm animals?
    • These precautions need to be followed for animals.
  • May I brush my teeth with tap water?
    • It is recommended that you do not use tap water to brush your teeth. Even if you do not swallow water while brushing your teeth, you are still going to ingest some of the water that lingers.
  • Can I still wash my laundry?
    • You can use tap water to run your laundry.
  • Can I water my plants?
    • You can use tap water to water plants, including gardens and vegetables.

Regardless of whether the public water supplier or Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced a boil water advisory, only KDHE can issue the rescind order following testing at a certified laboratory. 

For consumer questions, please contact the water system at 316-320-1301, or KDHE at 785-296-5514. For consumer information, please visit KDHE’s PWS Consumer Information webpage at: kdhe.ks.gov/waterdisruption

Restaurants and other food establishments that have questions about the impact of the boil water advisory on their business can contact the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s food safety & lodging program at  kda.fsl@ks.gov or call 785-564-6767.