Boil Water Advisory/Notice


What is the Difference?

 

A Boil Water Advisory is simply a public statement advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it. Advisories are issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become contaminated. (e.g., water main break, widespread loss of system pressure, sewage overflow or natural disaster.)

An advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but rather that it could be contaminated. Because the water quality is unknown, customers should assume the water is unsafe to drink and take the appropriate precautions. It is not required by DHEC to issue a Boil Water Advisory, but we prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to our customers.

If contamination is confirmed in our water system, we would issue a mandatory Boil Water Notice. During a notice, all customers must boil their water before consuming it or use bottled water. This is similar to an advisory, but in a notice, it would be imperative that you do so.

 

How are Customers Notified? 

 

Depending on the circumstances, we will notify our customers of a Boil Water Advisory or Notice through one or more of the following means:

  • Door-to-door/door hangers
  • Local news outlets
  • Our website
  • Our phone system
  • Electronic signs
  • Direct calls/emails and/or text messages. (For this method to work, we must have a current, active phone number on file for you.)

 

 

What Precautions Should Customers Take during a Boil Water Advisory? 

 

Take these voluntary steps to ensure that the water used in your home (or food service establishment) is safe:

Boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking (the minute starts when the water begins to bubble). This includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, washing raw foods, preparation of drinks, and water for pets. Once the water is cooled, you can store it in the refrigerator for later use.

Once the advisory is lifted...

We recommend that you flush household pipes, ice makers, water fountains, etc. prior to using for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes.

  • Run all cold water faucets in your home for one minute
  • Run drinking water fountains for one minute
  • Flush automatic ice makers (make three batches of ice and discard)
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle
  • Run water coolers with direct water connections for five minutes.

 

What Precautions Should Customers Take during a Boil Water Notice? 

 

A boil water notice means that we have proof that local water supplies are contaminated.

You MUST boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking (the minute starts when the water begins to bubble). This includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, washing raw foods, preparation of drinks, and water for pets. Once the water is cooled, you can store it in the refrigerator for later use.

Once the notice is lifted...

Flush household pipes, ice makers, water fountains, etc. prior to using for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes.

  • Run all cold water faucets in your home for one minute
  • Run drinking water fountains for one minute
  • Flush automatic ice makers (make three batches of ice and discard)
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle
  • Run water coolers with direct water connections for five minutes

 

Food Service Establishments

 

  • Stop using all appliances and equipment that require water, such as dish machines, ice machines, fountainheads, drinking fountains, tea brewers and coffee makers.
  • Use disposable paper, plastic or foam plates, cups, forks, etc.
  • Prepare food using water that has been boiled.
  • Wash your hands with water that has been boiled and cooled.
  • Wash, rinse and sanitize pots, pans and other equipment with water that has been boiled and cooled.

 

Please note: Food service establishments in South Carolina are required to follow these steps when a boil water notice is issued in their geographic area. If you cannot follow these steps, and you have no other options (such as using bottled water or modifying your menu so that water is not needed), you MUST STOP all food service activity until your water supply is declared safe by us or DHEC . For more information please visit http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/envhealth/food/htm/water-emergency-food-service.htm


How Long Must a Boil Water Advisory or Notice be in Effect?

 

An advisory or notice will remain in effect until test samples show the water is safe to drink. Testing for bacteria normally requires about 24 hours to complete, depending on the type of test used. As a result, advisories and notices will be in effect for at least 18-24 hours.


How Will I know When the Boil Water Advisory or Notice is Over?

 

We will notify you that the advisory/notice is over through the same means we used to notify you of it being in place. We will also provide you with any additional instructions or information at this time. Please assume that the advisory/notice is still in effect until you hear otherwise from us.