A boil water advisory is a public health directive given by government or health authorities to consumers when a community's drinking water is, or could be, contaminated by pathogens. Many water systems in the United States are over 100 years old, which creates vulnerability for harmful bacteria, chemicals, and other contaminants to enter through cracked pipes, water main breaks, and other age-related issues. Boil water advisories are becoming more frequent in the United States as disasters happen or municipalities find out about contamination.

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