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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The winter storm’s record-low temperatures are warming and water lines will soon thaw, and because of these changes, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality officials anticipate boil advisories will be issued to make drinking water safe.

The historic winter storm impacted drinking water systems statewide.

Communities across Oklahoma are experiencing either low water pressure or total water loss. Water use reached historic highs with Oklahomans dripping their faucets to prevent their pipes from freezing.

DEQ officials believe water systems and customers will continue having issues as pipes thaw. DEQ’s emergency storm response is expected to continue for several weeks, according to a DEQ news release.

“Unfortunately, we expect the number of precautionary boil advisories and, potentially, mandatory boil orders to increase over the next few days. In order to assist Oklahoma’s drinking water systems, the State Environmental Laboratory will be operating seven days a week to analyze additional samples to ensure safe water,” said Shellie Chard, DEQ’s Water Quality Division Director.

DEQ officials recommend that a precautionary boil advisory be issued after a water system experiences extremely low or no water pressure to ensure that people have safe water for drinking, cooking, handwashing and bathing.

Those who had extremely low water pressure or total water loss are advised to quickly notify their water service provider and follow these recommendations:

  • Once the water comes back on, flush the water for five minutes or until fresh, clear water comes out of the tap.
  • Boil the water at a hard, rolling boil for at least one minute before consumption, drinking, use in food preparation (including baby formula), brushing teeth, making ice, wound care, and bathing infants who may ingest the water, or use another drinking water source such as bottled water until the tap water is safe to drink again.
  • It is recommended to continue boiling the water (or use bottled water) for at least 72 hours or until your water system says the water is safe to drink again, whichever comes later.

Drinking water systems routinely issue precautionary boil orders when there are known leaks in the system to protect the health of their customers. Mandatory boil orders are issued by DEQ when there is a violation of state and federal drinking water regulations.

Visit DEQ at or follow DEQ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information on statewide precautionary and mandatory boil orders.