Water Emergency Operational Procedures for Food Establishments

Water Emergency Operational Procedures for Food Establishments

During a water supply emergency, including Boil Water Order/Advisories, water may serve as a source of contamination for food, equipment, utensils, and hands.  Therefore in order to provide protection to consumers and employees, water shall be obtained from sources regulated by law and shall be handled, transported and dispensed in a sanitary manner.  Due to the volume of water needed to safely operate a restaurant the establishment must close.  In addition, if water is unavailable for any period of time the facility must cease operation.

The following precautions should be taken to protect public safety.

  1. Drinking Water:  Use bottle water only; post “Do Not Drink” signs or disconnect water fountains.
  2. Previously prepared foods:  All previously prepared foods must be discarded.
  3. Ice:  If ice was produced during the time of the boil water order, discard the ice and shut off water to ice machines.  Ice must be obtained from sources unaffected by boil water order.  Once the advisory has been rescinded, flush, clean, and sanitize all machines before putting into operation.
  4. Coffee, Tea, Fountain machines and other beverages:  If beverage machines are water/mix, remove from operation.  Water used for coffee and tea must be made from bottled water.  No post-mix fountain dispensed drinks can be used.  Substitute with bottled or canned beverages
  5. Prep Sink: Only bottled water shall be used to wash fruit and vegetables.  Prewashed package produce and fruit, is suggested.
  6. Hand Washing: Establish hand-washing stations in food prep areas and restrooms used by employees.  Water for hand washing shall be dispensed from a container with a spigot.  Boiled or bottle water must be used for this purpose.
  7. Three-Compartment Sinks: Fill with bottled water in each compartment.  Change as often as needed.  Sanitize in last compartment.
  8. Dish Machines:  Facilities may not use dish machine during advisory.
  9. Customer Service:  Use only single service eating and drinking utensils for customer service.
  10. Cook Line:  Only bottled water can be used for food preparation.
  11. Dipper Wells:  Remove utensils and discontinue use.
  12. Public Restrooms:  Establish a hand wash station for each restroom. Water for hand washing shall be dispensed from a container with a spigot.  Boiled or bottle water must be used for this purpose.

Grocery Stores:  In addition to deli-type operations, grocery stores that have misters in the produce department, the water supply to the mister must be shut off.

The Health Department may modify or alter the above guidelines as deemed necessary to protect the public’s health.