Okatie, SC (October 8, 2016, 3 pm)- Officials of Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority (BJWSA) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) are advising residents of St Helena Island to boil their water before using for drinking, cooking or dishwashing once water is restored.
The advisory is being issued because of low pressure that occurred during Hurricane Matthew. The crew is working to restore full pressure.
SC DHEC requires that water utilities issue a boil water advisory as a precautionary measure when such an event occurs that allows the possibility for bacteria to enter the public water system. Such an event may include a loss of water pressure, which could allow bacteria in soil and groundwater to enter water pipes through cracks or leaks. A drop in pressure could also cause backflow, which is best defined by the example of a garden hose in a bucket of dirty water “sucking” that water back into the public water system when the water pressure drops, although backflow prevention valves make this unlikely.
BJWSA is currently sampling the drinking water in the area to ensure that no harmful bacteria are present. Upon confirmation that the water is safe, the precautionary advisory will be lifted.
Residents and businesses in the affected area are urged to use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, preparing food, and giving to pets until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms that may be present in the water. Some water filters do not protect against bacteria, so customers with filters are advised to contact the manufacturer for more information or boil their tap water. The water is safe for bathing and doing laundry.
Residents may purify the water by using one of several methods.
Disinfection instructions are as follows:
A. If water does not appear to be clear, strain through a clean cloth into a container to remove any sediment or floating matter. If water is clear, omit this step.
B. Disinfection by heat:
1. Boil the water vigorously for at least one minute.
2. After allowing the water to cool, it is ready to use. If desired, a pinch of salt added to each quart of water or pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another several times will improve the taste
C. Chemical Disinfection:
Use common liquid chlorine laundry bleach. Read the label to find the percentage of available chlorine and then follow the table below:
1. Mix thoroughly by stirring or shaking water in container.
2. Let stand for 30 minutes.
3. A slight chlorine odor should be detectable in the water. If not, repeat the dosage and let stand an additional 15 minutes before using.
4. Water is now safe for use.
Residents are urged to tell their neighbors who may not receive this message about this situation.
Information can also be found at www.bjwsa.org or by calling 843-987-9200.