A portion of Dubuque remains under a precautionary boil water advisory, not a boil order.  Precautionary boil advisories are issued when a sample test indicates possible contamination of the water supply. Contamination can only be confirmed through additional testing.

Advisories are NOT the same thing as a mandatory boil order. Instead, an advisory is a precautionary measure meant to empower customers to make the best choices for themselves, their families, or their business customers until additional testing can be completed.

As a precaution, the City has notified the impacted area to take precautions and not use tap water for drinking, brushing their teeth, cooking, washing dishes, or washing fruits and vegetables. The City recommends customers use bottled water or tap water that has been boiled for at least one (1) minute for these activities.

A required tank inspection test conducted on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the City’s Park Hill Water Tower on Gay Street indicated possible bacterial contamination of the water in that tank. The tank was isolated and has not been in service since that test.  As a precaution, a boil water advisory was issued for the portion of the community served by that tower.

Following the initial test, additional water quality samples were taken from the water distribution system in the advisory area to determine the absence or presence of coliform bacteria.  The City expects to have the results of those tests early tomorrow morning (Saturday, Sept. 10).

The results will be shared as soon as possible on the City website (www.cityofdubuque.org) and on the City’s Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor channels.  Phone notifications to residents/customers in the advisory area will also be made when results are available.

We understand that the time needed to ensure the safety of the water creates uncertainty and may be an inconvenience.  We thank you for your patience with this process.

If you would like additional information on the testing procedure followed in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, please visit https://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Drinking-Water-Compliance  


The City of Dubuque Water Department has issued a PRECAUTIONARY BOIL WATER ADVISORY for a large portion of Dubuque.

During a scheduled inspection of the water tank at 409 Gay Street, a bacteria sample tested positive. Following Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) requirements, the tank has been isolated and a follow-up sample has been taken for additional testing. The tank will be out of service until two consecutive samples have been completed, which could take approximately 48 hours.

Approximately 15,600 addresses are impacted by this advisory.

Due to the potential for bacterial contamination, it is recommended that customers in the affected area boil water before drinking or using for cooking or that an alternative water source be used until the advisory is lifted.  The City is working with the IDNR and testing takes approximately 48 hours for confirmation.

Please note that this is a boil water advisory that shall remain in effect until tests from the tank are negative or absent from bacteria. Customers in the affected service area will be contacted by phone through the City’s emergency notification system.  An update will be issued when the results are available and the advisory is lifted or a boil order is declared.


  • Do not drink tap water without boiling it first. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
  • Until the advisory is lifted, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation.
  • Bring water to a boil, let boil for one minute, and let it cool before drinking/using.
  • Unboiled tap water may be used for bathing and other non-drinking purposes.

Residents seeking additional information may call 563.690.6210.

When the water tank is back in service, there may be air in your water piping and the water may be discolored. It is recommended to run the first water from a faucet that does not have an aerator screen, such as a bathtub or hose bib. Open the faucet slowly to allow the air to escape. Once the water is flowing, allow the faucet to run until the water is clear. The water may be cloudy at first due to air in the water or particles that dislodged as the pipes filled with water. This should clear fairly quickly. If water is cloudy throughout the house and it does not clear after allowing the water to run for several minutes, contact the City of Dubuque Water Department at 563.690.6210 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org.General guidelines on ways to decrease the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1.800.426.4791.

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