Okatie, SC (December 29, 2010, 7:00 p.m.) – Officials of Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority (BJWSA) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) are advising residents on Coosaw Island, Judge Island and areas along Sams Point Rd from Lucy Creek Rd to Coosaw Island to boil their water before using for drinking, cooking or dishwashing. The advisory area includes Token Lane, Honeysuckle Road, Tuxedo Drive, Lucy Creek Farm Road, Lucy Creek Drive and Coosaw Point. The advisory is being issued because of an accident this afternoon around 1:30 PM, when a cement truck overturned onto a fire hydrant. The main water line serving the area had to be shutdown to repair the damage. BJWSA crews are working and anticipate restoring service by midnight.

SC DHEC requires that water utilities issue a boil water advisory when such an event occurs that allows the possibility for bacteria to enter the public water system. Such an event may include a loss of water pressure, which could allow bacteria in soil and groundwater to enter water pipes through cracks or leaks. A drop in pressure could also cause backflow, which is best defined by the example of a garden hose in a bucket of dirty water “sucking” that water back into the public water system when the water pressure drops, although backflow prevention valves make this unlikely.

Residents and businesses in the affected area are urged to use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, preparing food, and giving to pets until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms that may be present in the water. Some water filters do not protect against bacteria, so customers with filters are advised to contact the manufacturer for more information or boil their tap water. The water is safe for bathing and doing laundry.