How To Manage A Boil Water Advisory

Posted By: Susie Leggett GRA News, Public Health, Food Safety, Restaurant Industry News, Atlanta Metro Area, Restaurant Operations,

How to manage a Boil Water Advisory

The City of Atlanta was recently under a Boil Water Advisory due to several major water main breaks, forcing many restaurants to limit operations, reduce, staff, or close. To ensure that you are protecting the safety of your employees and guests in the event of a water outage or interruption, please review the following information: 

What is a Water Interruption and How Will I Be Notified?

A water interruption to a food service establishment may be the result of natural disaster events such as floods or water main breaks of which may render water unsafe to drink.

The Boil Water Advisory has been lifted in the City of Atlanta. For more information, visit

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Issues three types of orders for Emergency Water Interruptions through local media such as radio and television. These three types of orders are:

  • Do not use
  • Do not drink
  • Boil Water Advisories

What Does a Boil Water Advisory Mean?

Boil Water Advisories are issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become biologically contaminated. An advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but rather that it could be contaminated; because the water quality is unknown, food service establishment operators should assume the water is unsafe to drink or use and take the appropriate precautions.

What is the Effect on Food Safety?

Without adequate potable water, employees cannot wash their hands, cook and prepare food and clean and sanitize equipment appropriately to prevent foodborne illness. Likewise, the overall sanitary condition of the establishment will decline.

As a Food Service Establishment Operator, What is My Responsibility in the Event of a Water Interruption?

Foodservice rule 511-6-1-.03 subsection (2)(n) states that the person in charge (PIC) of the food service establishment must immediately discontinue operations where there is interruption of water supply for more than two (2) hours and they must notify the local Health Authority (i.e. the County Health Department). However, establishments may continue to operate under an emergency operation plan that has been approved by the Health Authority PRIOR to the occurrence of such emergency events.

To stay prepared in the event of future disruptions, please review the following documents provided by the Georgia Department of Public Health: