Customer Alert/Urgent News

Contact: Pamela Flasch, director of public affairs

 BJWSA recommends customers protect plumbing in advance of freezing weather

OKATIE, SOUTH CAROLINA (December 20, 2022) – With freezing temperatures predicted to arrive in the Lowcountry later this week, Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) encourages customers to take steps to prepare their homes and avoid frozen pipes – and potential costly repairs.

“In anticipation of these extreme low temperatures forecast this long holiday weekend, we recommend that customers take a few simple steps to help protect their pipes from freezing,” said General Manager Joe Mantua. “Implementing these tasks ahead of time can save the stress and cost of dealing with potential damaged pipes.”

Property owners are responsible for maintenance of water service lines from the meter to the home, as well as any in-home pipes. Frozen water lines typically occur in areas such as crawl spaces or along the outside walls where unprotected plumbing tends to be more vulnerable to the elements.

Customers are encouraged to do the following:

  • Disconnect garden hoses from the spigot. Turn off and drain irrigation systems.
  • Check attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls for uninsulated water pipes, especially in unheated areas. Consider wrapping pipes with insulation sleeves. Newspaper or fabric can also be used.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking to keep cold air away from pipes.

Once cold weather arrives, follow these tips:

  • Set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees or higher if leaving town.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets supplied by pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. This will help prevent the water in pipes from freezing.
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.

Locate the main water shut-off valve inside your home so that it can be shut off quickly in the event of a water pipe leak. This valve is often located in a utility room, closet or in the basement or crawlspace.

If pipes do freeze:

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without first turning off the main shut-off valve.
  • Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Do not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene or open flames.
  • Be careful turning water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for cracks or leaks.

If a pipe breaks and customers are unable to isolate any leaks during repairs, BJWSA can turn off water at the meter, but charges will apply for the visit. BJWSA cannot make repairs beyond the meter box. After the leak is repaired, call 843-987-9200 to report the leak and inquire about a possible billing adjustment.


BJWSA is working to alleviate discolored water issues in our service area

BJWSA has detected discolored water in our distribution system, primarily south of Highway 278 in Beaufort and Jasper counties. We are taking steps to minimize the issue in affected areas, including opening hydrants to flush the discolored water from the system.

Several conditions within the distribution system can disturb iron and manganese, including pressure fluctuations, high-use events or changes in flow direction.

The discoloration is the result of higher than normal levels of manganese and iron in the water distribution system.  These concentrations do not present a health risk, but may cause aesthetic issues, such as yellow or brown discoloration. At the levels observed, some people may notice differences in taste and odor.

While there is no reason for health-related concern, customers who notice discoloration may choose to refrain from washing laundry until the issue has passed, especially white and light-colored garments – to avoid possible staining.

If tap water is discolored, allow the cold water to run for 5 to 10 minutes. Running several cold-water faucets at the same time will help the water clear faster. Do not use hot water, as doing so can introduce the discoloration to your hot water tank and make the issue last longer.

Please call 843-987-9200 to report any discoloration concerns.

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