Only 1 boil water advisory in effect for Lowcountry; utilities ask people to conserve wastewater

Only 1 boil water advisory in effect for Lowcountry; utilities ask people to conserve wastewater
Pawleys Island Police say the community is under a 48-hour boil water advisory after Hurricane Dorian skirted along the coast. (Source: Gray News)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Many people have been asking about whether they need to boil water before using it for cooking or drinking in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

As of Friday, Pawleys Island is the only Lowcountry community under a boil-water advisory. The police department posted Friday that a 48-hour advisory is in effect after power to their water system was turned back on. Water should be boiled vigorously for at least one minute before being used for cooking or before allowed to cool and use as drinking water.

Normally, when a water system loses a certain amount of pressure, a fear that pathogens may have been able to enter the water system prompts utilities or municipalities to issue a boil water advisory.

No Tri-County water customers are under a boil-water advisory.

“Everything in our system is operating 100 percent normally,” Charleston Water System spokesman Mike Saia said.

Edisto Beach was initially anticipating a boil water advisory to be issued after Dorian because of plans to turn off their water system on Wednesday. However, a post on the town's Facebook page Thursday states there is water, but sewer service is not up and running and asked people to use wastewater sparingly.

“No need to boil water as we never lost pressure on the water system,” the post states.

Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority spokesperson Pamela Flasch said BJWSA customers are not under a boil advisory. The utility thanked its customers for their patience as it lowered water pressure ahead of the storm to prevent what it called a “catastrophic loss of water system pressure” if a pipeline within a causeway had occurred. The utility lowered water pressure at 14 causeway valves at locations including Hunting and Fripp Islands, Pine Island, Bermuda Bluff and Birdfoot Landing, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Water flow returned to normal on Thursday.

Flasch said plants are fully operational and the water is safe to drink throughout the system.

“We are extremely proud of our staff, who worked tirelessly to uphold and maintain our mission to inspire trust and enhance public health,” she said.

Utilities ask people to conserve wastewater through Friday

Mount Pleasant Water System customers do not need to boil their water they’ll use for drinking or cooking, either. But utility spokesperson Jenna Moore said the confusion may be coming from reports that some area wastewater stations are not operating.

“If your home loses power, there is a good chance the pump station nearest to your home is also out of power,” Moore said.

That’s why utilities are recommending people to be conscious of their use of wastewater, which includes flushing toilets, taking showers or washing clothes, at least through Friday night as wastewater pump stations regain power.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.