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What You Need to Know About Coronavirus and Utility Water and Wastewater Operations

U.S. Water Services Corporation recognizes that there is a lot of uncertainty in the world today with the Coronavirus spreading and we are here to help. There is no higher priority than to protect the health and safety of our clients!  We would like to take this time to provide some important information about COVID-19 as it relates to drinking water and wastewater to provide clarity and put your mind at ease.

Drinking-Water

Water from your tap remains safe to drink and use as usual. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplied and based on current evidence the risk to water supplies is low. You can view more water facts on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Website and follow for more information and updates on the virus!

Your water supply meets or exceeds all EPA regulations for the treatment requirements for public water systems that prevent waterborne pathogens such as viruses from contaminating drinking water. These treatment requirements include disinfectants that kill pathogens before they reach the tap.

Boiling your water is not a requirement as a precaution against COVID-19.

You may continue to use potable water to wash your hands and for consumption. According to the CDC, washing our hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 information, including safety precautions, by visiting the CDC website.

It is not required to purchase bottled water and can be treated as a preference instead of a necessity. Unlike a hurricane event, water from the tap will remain accessible and it is up to the customer if they feel the need to purchase bottled water for other purposes. Residents can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual.

Water/Sewer

Wastewater treatment plants treat viruses and other pathogens. COVID-19 is a type of virus, susceptible to disinfection. Standard treatment and disinfectant processes at wastewater treatment plants will be effective.

For more information on COVID-19 as it pertains to your water supply: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html

Hurricane Michael – Leon County

Due to Hurricane Michael, where a loss of power and low water pressures were experienced, a boil water advisory has been issued to the following water systems Until further notice:

 

Leon County

Brewster Subdivision

Bucklake Estates Subdivision

Meadow Hills Subdivision

Northlake Meadows Subdivision

Plantation Estates Subdivision

Sedgefield Subdivison

 

Precautionary Boil Water Notice- What Should You Do?

If during a hurricane, tropical storm or unforeseen emergency, our water system loses power and water pressure, we will issue a precautionary boil water notice (PBWN) to our customers.

 

 Water pressure keeps pollutants from entering the underground pipes that bring drinking water to your house or business. When the pressure is lost, contaminants can seep into the pipes. This might allow pathogens (disease-causing germs) into the water that can cause illness if one drinks it or prepares food or beverages with it. So, as a precaution, it is important to disinfect tap water to kill any bacteria or viruses that may have entered the water, or use an alternative source of water (bottled water).

 

Under a boil water notice, water used for consumption can be disinfected by any one of the following methods:

  • Bringing the water to a rolling boil and holding it there for one (1) minute, OR
  • Using a disinfecting chemical. If you cannot boil water, you should put eight (8) drops of common household bleach (unscented) which is about 1/8th teaspoon, into one (1) gallon of tap water, then shake it, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before drinking. If the water is cloudy, use sixteen (16) drops, about 1/4 teaspoon of bleach instead of 8, shake it, and let it stand for 30 minutes. There should be a slight chlorine odor. Use common household bleach that has 5% to 8% active ingredients. Use food grade containers. OR
  • Using water purification tablets or iodine that many sports and camping stores sell, and follow their directions.

 

You can also buy commercial bottled water for consumption and food preparation as an alternative.

Consumption includes brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables, and homemade ice. Tap water may be used for showering, baths, shaving and washing, so long as care is taken not to swallow or allow water in eyes or nose or mouth. Children and disabled individuals should have their bath supervised to ensure water is not ingested. The time spent bathing should be minimized. Though the risk of illness is minimal, individuals who have recent surgical wounds, are immunosuppressed, or have a chronic illness may want to consider using bottled or boiled water (that has cooled) for cleansing until the notice is lifted.

 

Businesses and non-residential sites should take steps such as posting notices at, or disabling water fountains and ice machines during the PBWN. If you provide water to visitors or employees, use commercially produced bottled water for drinking or beverage preparation (coffee). Food service operations have additional requirements from their regulatory agency.

 

After the water system is repaired, and the pressure is restored in the pipes to your home or business, the precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect for one to several days while bacteria tests are conducted to assure the safety of the water. The notice will be lifted (rescinded) only after tests prove the water is safe to drink. It may be lifted in sections of the city/county as those areas’ pipes are cleared and the water deemed safe to drink. The media will be provided information updates and you should listen for this important information on the radio, television, or other media sources. Flush your taps and dispose of ice made during the PBWN.

 

Your public water system takes great care in assuring that your water is safe to drink, and we appreciate your cooperation with the precautionary boil water notice to protect public health during this difficult time.  The County Health Department can also assist you with answers to questions.

 

Scheduled Website Maintenance

Please be advised that there will be a scheduled shutdown between the hours of 10:00 PM EST Saturday, January 28, 2017 through 10:00 PM EST Sunday, January 29, 2017 for the bill pay website. You will not be able to access your account online or pay your bill during that time.