CARY, N.C. & ROCKVILLE, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aqua America’s North Carolina and Virginia subsidiaries are actively preparing for the impact of Hurricane Hermine as the storm travels northward from Florida affecting the Carolinas, and Virginia as it moves toward the mid-Atlantic coast. Although the hurricane has been downgraded to a tropical storm, its impact could be substantial.
“The biggest threat would be a power outage and a subsequent loss of water pressure, which can increase the risk of contamination,” explained Shannon Becker, president of Aqua’s North Carolina and Virginia subsidiaries. “If the pressure drops too low, we run the risk of a backflow event where water from homes and businesses could potentially enter the distribution system. If that risk were to occur, we would issue a boil-water advisory.”
Aqua is positioning generators in strategic locations to prepare for power outages. When it is safe for employees to respond to outages, Aqua will mobilize generators to restore water to its systems where power is lost. In areas where Aqua has wastewater systems, employees also will use generators to restore power to wastewater treatment plants and lift stations.
Here is what customers should know during and after the storm.
If you lose power and notice a decrease in water pressure:
- Use bottled water if available, or
- According to the Division of Environmental Health in the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, you can disinfect your tap water with plain household bleach by adding a quarter of a teaspoon, or 16 drops, of bleach per gallon. Then shake the water and let it stand for 30 minutes. The water should then have a slight bleach odor. If not, repeat this procedure. Household bleach is 4 to 6 percent chlorine.
- According to the Virginia Department of Health, if you cannot boil your tap water in an emergency because of a power outage, it is acceptable to use liquid household bleach to disinfect tap water. The bleach product should be recently purchased, free of additives and scents, and should contain a hypochlorite solution of at least 5.25 percent. If the water is clear, add 8 drops of bleach (about one quarter of a teaspoon) to each gallon of water. Add twice the amount of bleach (16 drops, or one half of a teaspoon) to each gallon if the water is cloudy. After adding bleach, the water should be stirred and allowed to stand for at least 30 minutes before use.
- Water purification tablets may also be used to disinfect tap water by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you are able to disinfect your tap water by boiling it:
- Boil tap water used for cooking or other purposes where water might be ingested. This would include water used for drinking, brushing teeth, cooking or making ice. You can safely consume water after bringing it to a hard boil for one to two minutes, then letting it cool.
- It is better that young infants and pregnant women use bottled or stored water instead of boiled tap water whenever possible for drinking and cooking.
Aqua will collect water samples after a community’s water service is restored and will test them to ensure that no bacteriological contamination took place during repairs or if pressure was lost in the system. These laboratory tests might take a couple of days to complete.
Please note that customers with grinder pumps will have to wait until the electric company restores power before these pumps become operational. Aqua recommends that customers immediately limit water usage in your house so you don’t overload your sewer system, which could create a sewage backup in your home.
Aqua North Carolina provides water and wastewater service to more than 250,000 people in 52 counties throughout North Carolina. Aqua Virginia provides water and wastewater service to approximately 75,000 people in 38 counties across Virginia. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.