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Boil Water Advisory Information

"Boil Water Advisory" is issued by officials when the community's drinking water possibly could be or is contaminated by pathogens or compromised to a point where contaminates could enter the system.  This advisory is issued within 24 hours of the occurrence to all potentially affected customers as required by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC).  The advisory may be issued in a general news release and/or notice to individual customers who could be possibly affected.

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Under a boil water advisory, it is recommended that water be boiled for several minutes in advance of human consumption or use for food preparation, in order to eliminate as much of the bacteria as possible.

A common cause that warrants a boil advisory is a loss of water pressure due to a pumping station or main break failure in the distribution system.  While loss of pressure does not necessarily mean the water has been contaminated, it does mean that potential pathogenic materials connected to water suply plumbing could be compromised, putting consumers at risk.  Again, a boil water advisory does not always mean contaminates have been found, only that conditions have developed that could result in a bacteria contamination.

A boil water advisory can only be lifted after testing confirms that harmful bacteria are not present.  This process may require at least 3 or 4 days.

Boil water advisories are a common occurrence ofr public water systems acrros the country.

During a "Boil Water" Advisory

If your area is under a boil water advisory:

  • Boil your water vigorously for at least one minute before drinking or cooking;
  • Don't use any appliances that might require drinkable water like dish washers, ice machines, drinking fountains, etc.;
  • Don't use water from the tap to wash food, dishes, or your hands.  Use water that has been boiled and cooled for this purpose;
  • Food service businesses should follow all applicable state and federal regulations as well.  See SC DHEC's Food Safety for Industry for more information;
  • For more tips on water use during a "Boil Water" Advisory, use this Fact Sheet About What to do During a Boil Water Advisory developed by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Water Works Association in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 After a "Boil Water" Advisory

When the "Boil Water" advisory has been repealed:

  • Dispose of any ice that might have been made during the Boil Water Advisory;
  • You may want to turn on your taps to flush your lines.