Water service to the Village of Brocton was shut off early this morning to repair a major leak, so the Chautauqua County Department of Health says once service is restored, Village customers should boil drinking and cooking water until further notice.

Portland customers should also follow the same order.

Once service is restored, boil water for at least one minute, then cool before using, or just used bottled water.

Ever wondered why a Boil Water Advisory is advised and how it began?

ThinkStock

It's to kill protozoa, bacteria and viruses that may have compromised the system.  Sometimes, it's not just a leak that can lead to these bugs getting into the water.

Sometimes it's a failure of the system's integrity due to loss of pressure. The pressure loss doesn't necessarily mean the water has been contaminated, but that pathogens may be able to sneak into the system.  So it's a precautionary measure.

A 19th century epidemiologist named John Snow is credited with the first recommendation after a cholera outbreak in London in the 1800's.  The first known official "BWA" was issued in 1866.

And now you know.