Boil Water Advisory Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATE 8/5/21 2:32 PM

The boil water advisory has been lifted.


The City of Kirkland worked with the Department of Health to lift the boil water advisory that has been in place since approximately 4:30 p.m. on August 3, 2021 for neighborhoods north of NE 85th St., south of NE 124th St., and west of I-405.  Water samples have been tested and showed no indication of contamination. Please read the full news release

Below are answers to frequently asked questions. For more information,
submit questions to Our Kirkland or call 425-587-3900.

  • Now that the boil water advisory has been lifted, what do I need to do?
    The WA State Department of Health recommends that you:
    - Flush the plumbing in your home by running all cold water faucets for at least 5 minutes each. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that there is fresh water flowing through your pipes.
    - Also flush all appliances connected to the water line like icemakers, water softeners, water dispensers for refrigerators, dishwashers, etc. 

  • What area of Kirkland was affected? 
    The boil water advisory was in effect for neighborhoods north of NE 85th St., south of NE 124th St., and west of I-405. This affected City of Kirkland customers only, the boil water advisory did not affect Northshore Utility District customers. View a map of the affected area.(PDF, 280KB)
  • When did the water main break happen?
    The City of Kirkland experienced a marked pressure drop based on telemetry readings at approximately 2 p.m. on August 3, 2021.  The water main break was identified as a Type III break at approximately 3 p.m. and per protocols, City staff immediately reached out to WA State Department of Health for coordination and message preparation.
  • When did the boil water advisory go into effect? 
    At 4:17 p.m. on August 3, 2021.
  • Why was the advisory in effect until August 5?
    The advisory was in effect until the water met safe drinking water standards. After repairing the water main and flushing the system, City of Kirkland Water Division field staff took representative samples which were delivered for processing by a local testing lab on the afternoon of August 4. Results typically take at least 24 hours. The advisory was lifted immediately once the satisfactory results were received.
  • How do I know if I have consumed contaminated water? 
    There was no indication the water was contaminated. The City of Kirkland advised to boil the water out of an abundance of caution.
  • How were people notified of the boil water advisory? 
    Updates were posted to the City website, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor), emailed through the City’s listservs, sent to print, radio and TV media, and posted on Kirkland fire station reader boards as well as traffic reader boards on NE 85th St and on NE 116th St. All residents were encouraged to tell their neighbors to spread the word.

  • Is there a way to get updates or alerts?

    Subscribe to This Week in Kirkland to receive updates.

  • Why weren't people alerted by text or phone?
    There is no simple answer for full or partial community text and phone notifications.  It is a complex topic that involves federal law, local policies, privacy issues, and consent, to name a few of the complications. The emergency alert system and wireless emergency alerts, often referred to as “reverse 911,” are part of the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS), FEMA's national system for local alerting. It is this national standard criteria that dictates the use of the system and the purposes for which it can be used. The use of reverse 911 has to be approved by alerting authorities, the City of Kirkland is not a designated alerting authority.  In a situation where there is an imminent threat, reverse 911 would be used without hesitation. However, Kirkland’s boil water advisory did not completely meet the definition of imminent threat because the advisory was precautionary in nature.

    The City of Kirkland is engaging with alerting authorities to identify protocols to handle similar situations in the future. The City is also looking at options for systems that could be purchased in order for Kirkland to have its own capability to send text and/or phone alerts.  One main challenge of any system that is not the reverse 911 federal system is that people have to "opt in."  Local jurisdictions are generally not allowed to automatically enroll people without their consent.

    Kirkland's boil water advisory presented a significant challenge for the City to reach people quickly and comprehensively with important information. The Kirkland City Manager's Office, Fire Chief, and Emergency Manager are prioritizing finding alert options as soon as possible to prevent a similar challenge in the future.