Santa Barbara- S County

Montecito Water District uses "super-chlorinate" water before boil warning ends


The Montecito Water District released the following update on Tuesday, Jan. 23, regarding the state of their use of high chlorine to clean the pipes before lifting the Boil Water Advisory:

The Boil Water / High Chlorine Content Notice remains in effect for most of the Montecito Water District. In addition to indicating that water is non-potable, this notice informs the public about high chlorine content. It is important to be aware that the Montecito Water District is in the process of super-chlorinating its water system to properly disinfect pipes in preparation for lifting the Boil Water Notice.

Super-chlorination began on Sunday, January 21st and may be conmpleted as soon as January 27th. During this period, the presence of super-chlorinated water at customer taps will be intermittent, lasting anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. The chlorine concentration in the system is anticipated to be as high as ±10 ppm (parts per million), which is equivalent to approx. 2.5 times that of a public swimming pool.

Chlorine may be detected by its strong odor. If you smell chlorine (smell is similar to bleach), you should assume that super chlorination is taking place in your area. An elevated concentration of chlorine in a particular area is anticipated to last approximately 24 hours before being flushed out of the system and returned to normal levels.

If you are sensitive to chlorine or have any health concerns regarding the use of water with elevated levels of chlorine, it is recommended that you temporarily discontinue any use of this water and consult your health provider or the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department for more information.

Residents are encouraged to remain cognizant when using water and to refrain from using water if they have any concerns.

Please refer to or for more information, including a map of the areas where the boil water / high chlorine content notice is in effect and locations of bottled water distribution centers.

As a reminder, areas in Summerland, Upper Toro Canyon, and Sycamore Canyon received a cancellation of the Boil Water Notice prior to the Boil Water / High Chlorine Content notice being issued and will not experience higher than normal chlorine concentrations moving forward. These parcels are indicated in blue on the interactive map.

Until water is fully restored, we ask that you keep your water use limited to essential use only in order to assist our disinfection and flushing processes. This means minimizing outdoor irrigation during this period. Please note that the use of water with a high chlorine concentration on landscaping may have negative implications. For information on these impacts, consult your landscaper or gardener, and please, conserve water.

The public will be informed as soon as testing demonstrates that chlorine levels have reduced to normal drinking water levels and the water is safe to drink. For information on actions you should consider during and after the Boil Water Notice is lifted, please refer to information provided by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.


The Montecito Water District plans to "super-chlorinate" the water systems to disinfect the water pipes before lifting an existing boil water advisory.

The treatment was set to begin on Thursday but has since been pushed back one to two days.

During the super-chlorination, people with sensitivity to chlorine should avoid prolonged contact with the super-chlorinated water. Super-chlorinated water can cause skin irritation, skin burns, and throat and mouth irritation if ingested. Residents are advised not to use the water for bathing, drinking, or food preparation.

If skin becomes visibly irritated, wash the area with clean water for 20 minutes and check again. You should seek medical care if skin continues to be irritated and if contact is made in sensitive areas (eyes, nose, mouth).

The water situation in Montecito is considered an emergency and it's unclear at this time how long super-chlorinated water will be in the system.

A map of the affected areas, as well as pickup areas for bottled water, can be found here.

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