When the hurricane season
is upon us. Our Utilities Department distributes useful emergency management
guidelines for Hernando County residents. They're well worth studying
and keeping handy for this season. And they could be helpful for a variety
of other unusual events. Print them out and keep them handy for your
-- Citizens for W.A.T.E.R.
Following an emergency
event, if you are worried about the safety of your water supply,
use it only for sanitation purposes - to clean your home or flush
your toilet - until you know it is safe to drink.
If you are on a public
water system, know the name of your water company. In Hernando
County, public suppliers include the Hernando County Utilities Department,
and the City of Brooksville.
If there is a problem
with your public water supply - radio, TV, and/or newspaper announcements
will be made and signs prominently posted in the affected area to
advise residents of the problem and what to do about it. If
telephone service is available, call and ask your water company
about the safety of your water.
If your drinking
water comes from a private well that is covered by flood water,
do not attempt to use the well until the flood water recedes.
When the flood water recedes, pump the well until the well water
is clear. Once clear, you may use the well water for house
cleaning and flushing. However, contact the
officials, before drinking or cooking with the well water.
The American Red Cross
recommends stocking a minimum three (3) days supply of water for
emergencies, with at least one (1) gallon of water per person per
day. If you live in a storm or flood prone area, you might be wise
to store at least a two (2) weeks supply of water, with three (3)
gallons of water per person per day.
your water is restored, you will have a limited supply of water
to cook with - stock emergency food items that need little or
no water to prepare. Stock paper plates and cups to save
on dish-washing water.
Store water in clean,
closed containers. Plastic containers are ideal, because
they are lightweight and not easily broken. Avoid using
metal containers. Be sure containers are clean!
Tubs and sinks
can be cleaned and used to store water. If there is no
time to sanitize your tub, fill it with water anyway.
Be sure stoppers seal drains securely to prevent stored water
from leaking down the drain. Water stored in a tub or
sink can be used for bathing or flushing toilets, or disinfected
The water in the hot
water heater is a potential source of drinking and cooking water
in an emergency. If you need the water, turn off the incoming
water valve and the power to the water heater. Water may be
drawn through the valve found at the bottom of the heater. Before
restoring power to the heater, ensure water service has been restored
and the heater tank refilled to prevent damage to heating element.
Anytime you lose water
for longer than two (2) hours, and power remains on, turn off all
appliances that draw water - such as ice makers, hot water heaters,
heat pumps, etc. - to prevent damage. When water service is
restored and you restart your ice maker, discard the first several
trays of ice to ensure cubes do not contain sediment from surge
water in pipes.
If you evacuate, turn
off appliances which use water and close the main water valve into
Anytime you are not
sure of the purity of your water supply and cannot verify its safety,
take precautions and disinfect the water!
If a boil water notice is
issued for your area, use either bottled water or disinfected tap water
(see following directions) to drink, cook, shave, brush your teeth,
rinse contact lenses, or for your pets' drinking water, until the notice
Showering or bathing
with tap water is usually safe. However, do not swallow or
water to enter your mouth, ears, or nose.
Do not use swimming
pool water for drinking or preparing food. Do not drink or
water from any source that appears dark or tainted.
Under a boil water notice,
you may use tap water to wash dishes by adding bleach to the
rinse water - 15 drops of liquid bleach per quart of rinse water
There are two ways to disinfect
water - boiling and chemical treatment. The American Red
Cross recommends doing both, if conditions allow. If you cannot
do both treatments - do
one or the other - either boil (Steps 1 through 3) OR chemically treat
your water (Step 4).
To disinfect water, follow
Filter the water to
remove as many solids as possible. You may use a sheet, cheesecloth,
coffee filter, or other clean, porous material as a filter.
Pour the water into a large pot for boiling.
Bring the water to a
rolling boil and keep it boiling for at least 10 minutes.
Cool the water for at
least 30 minutes. To speed cooling and to add air to the water
for better taste, carefully pour the water back and forth between
two clean pots.
After the water has
thoroughly cooled, add unscented, liquid chlorine bleach.
The only ingredient in the bleach should be 5.25 percent sodium
hypochlorite. Use 8 drops of liquid bleach per one (1) gallon
of water. Let the water stand for 30 minutes. If it
gives off a slight chlorine smell and looks clear, it's OK to use.
If you do not smell chlorine,
or if the water is cloudy, add 8 more drops of liquid chlorine bleach
and let it stand another 30 minutes. If you smell chlorine, it's
safe to use. If it doesn't smell of chlorine after the second
dosage, discard it and find another source of water.
by the American Red Cross
If you are on a public sewer
system, after a flood or storm, contact your utility company about the
use of sewer lines in your area. If there has been an extraordinary
amount of rainfall or flooding, sewer systems may be filled to capacity
until they can be pumped. You may be asked to reduce sewer use,
until the sewer system is stabilized.
If your utility tells you
the main sewer lines are clear, check your toilet (before using it)
by flushing. If your toilet is clogged, you may need to clean
the sewer line from your house to the main sewer line.
If you have a septic system,
it will not work if flood water covers the drain field. Wait until
the flood water recedes to use your sinks, tubs, toilets, or washing
machines that drain into the septic tank.
If your toilet works, but
you do not have running water, use pool water or other non-disinfected
water for minimal flushing. Save your bottled or disinfected drinking
water for drinking!
If your toilet does not
work, use a portable toilet or line your toilet with a plastic garbage
bag. After use, tie bags tightly and store in a secure container
(such as a garbage can with a tight lid) for later disposal.
A water outage or a sewage
backup, at any time, is an emergency to the person experiencing it!
If you are a Hernando County Utilities' customer, you can get help for
water or sewer emergencies, 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week, by
dialing (352) 754-4037. In East Hernando, Sprint Local Communications
customers (formerly, United Telephone) may call direct (no charge) by
dialing (352) 521-4016.