In Oklahoma, disasters are known to strike at any time. As a licensed lodging establishment that provides food and water to the general public it’s important to plan and prepare ahead of time to ensure service to the public during times of emergency is safe. This not only protects public health but also the establishment.
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the regulatory authority over the public water supply. They work with Public Water Authorities (PWA) across the state to ensure water is safe to drink and potable. In the event the DEQ or PWA issues a Mandatory Boil Order or Precautionary Boil Advisory, the DEQ has determined the water is not safe to drink.
Legally, the PWA must notify each customer using their public water system. This may be by phone, fliers, postings or media.
This is important for the licensed lodging establishments to recognize such a notice. The local county health department will work to remind licensed lodging establishments of their requirement and responsibility outlined in the Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) to operate with potable water:
Failing to operate with potable water may result in a disease outbreak, an imminent health hazard, violations against the establishment or a possible cease and desist order.
Below are some tools and templates to help you identify sources of water that must be addressed and planned for if DEQ or the PWA issues a boil order or advisory.
- Notify all guests of the unsafe water situation; it is advised to include signs in all guest rooms near water and/or coffee pots reminding guests of the situation
- Turn off all ice machines
- Provide bottled water to guests at a minimum for personal hygiene such as teeth brushing
- Ensure all food services, including limited service, is ceased or modified to ensure the use of safe, potable water. Click here for more details on food response.
If you have questions about the safety of your water or when the water is potable following a water crisis, Please contact the Department of Environmental Quality or your local Public Water Authority.
Location and Contact Information
Consumer Health Service
PO Box 268815
Oklahoma City, OK 73126
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Consumer Health Service
1000 N.E. 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Phone: (405) 271-5243
Fax: (405) 271-5286