15365 Cortez Blvd.
Brooksville, FL 34613
Phone (352) 754-4705
Emergency Water Tips
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 Health Department officials, before drinking or cooking with the well water.
The American Red Cross recommends stocking a minimum three days supply of water for emergencies, with at least one gallon of water per person per day. If you live in a storm or flood prone area, it is wise to store at least a two weeks supply of water, with three gallons of water per person per day.
Remember, until 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. Water stored in a tub or sink can be used for bathing, flushing toilets, or for drinking if it has been 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 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 that use water and close the main water valve into the house.
Anytime you are not sure of the purity of your water supply and cannot verify its safety, take precautions and disinfect the water.
Boil Water Notice
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 is rescinded.
Showering or bathing with tap water is usually safe. However, do not swallow or allow the water to enter your mouth, ears, or nose.
Do not use swimming pool water for drinking or preparing food. Do not drink or cook with 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 are recommended.
How to Disinfect 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 these steps:
- 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
Emergency Sewer Tips
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 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.