An advisory or notice remains in effect until test samples show the water is safe to drink. Testing for bacteria requires 16 hours to complete.
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These filters improve the aesthetics of water (improve taste and odor) but do not remove harmful bacteria. Learn about the your filter by contacting the manufacturer or NSF International, an independent testing group (Ph: 1-800-673-8010). If in doubt, boil your water or use bottled water.
We repeal a precautionary advisory or notice when we confirm the water is safe to drink. Stay tuned to local media for updates. We will also post updates on this website and place an automated message on the Customer Service phone system at (843) 727-6800.
A Boil Water Notice must be issued under the following circumstances:
These situations are not the only times when an advisory or notice should be issued. Specific situations, upon consultation with DHEC, may also require an advisory or notice.
A 'Do Not Use Notice' will be issued if there is a contaminant in the water that may be inhaled or otherwise harmful on contact.
The water treatment process removes these bacteria from the water, but events such as a water main break or a loss of pressure in the water distribution system may allow these bacteria to enter water lines through cracks in pipes or back-siphoning from a residential plumbing system. Boiling water vigorously for 1 minute will kill these bacteria and make water safe to drink.
A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is a precautionary public statement advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it. They’re issued when an event has occurred allowing the possibility for the water distribution system to become contaminated. An advisory does not mean that the water is contaminated, but rather that it could be contaminated. Since the water quality is unknown, customers should assume the water is unsafe to drink and take the appropriate precautions. An advisory is different from a Boil Water Notice, which is issued when contamination is confirmed in the water system. During a notice, all customers must boil their water before consuming it or use bottled water.
After an advisory or notice has been lifted (if contamination of the water system did occur), you should flush household pipes, ice makers, water fountains, etc. prior to using for drinking or cooking. Flushing simply means letting the water run to ensure that no contaminated water remains in your pipes. Follow the these guidelines for flushing:
If a hurricane is about to impact our service area, then the Charleston Water System may, after consultation with SCDHEC, issue a Boil Water Advisory as a precautionary measure.
After the storm:
- We look for damage to our system and make any repairs as quickly as possible.
- If tests show the water is safe to drink, we lift the Boil Water Advisory.
- If tests indicate bacterial contamination, we issue a Boil Water Notice.
- Stay tuned to media reports for instructions.