Preparing For and Recovering From a Hurricane
Preparing for and recovering from a hurricane
During hurricane season, June through November, it is possible for storms to affect water service. Severe weather brings heavy winds and flooding that may result in broken water pipes and disrupted water service. Critical pumps can lose electric power disrupting water service. While Cocoa Utilities does everything within its power to prevent the loss of service during a storm, sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas, and we want our customers to be ready.
BEFORE THE HURRICANE
- Expect to lose power, water and sewer. Plan accordingly.
- Locate your residence's emergency water shut-off valve and remove any shrubbery or obstructions. Test the water shut-off valve to be sure that it is operational. If the shut-off valve is not operational, contact a plumber and have it repaired or replaced.
- Turn off the emergency water shut-off valve if you are leaving your residence prior to a storm. This will help minimize damage to your home's interior should a pipe burst inside your home.
- If you turn off the emergency shut-off valve, follow the manufacturer's recommendations on turning off your water heater and unplugging it. Some water heaters may be damaged if the water supply is turned off for an extended period of time.
- Locate your sewer clean-out lid and remove any shrubbery or obstruction in case the clean-out needs to be located. Keep the lid securely in place (this is not a drain for stormwater).
- Stockpile one gallon of drinking water per day for each person and family pet for at least three days. Five days is an even better plan.
- Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers in case the power goes out. If your normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will also supply drinking water.
Water is the one hurricane supply you can't live without!
AFTER THE HURRICANE
Because of reduced pressures and limited operations of lift stations, water conservation is a must! Remember, just because power has been restored to your home, it does not mean that power has been restored to all lift stations and water and wastewater treatment plants within your neighborhood.
- Due to power outages and water main breaks, water treatment plants may be operating under limiting conditions. It’s likely that some areas will experience low water pressure.
- Due to power outages, lift stations that are used to convey sewage to wastewater treatment plants will not work or have only limited operations. Over use of toilet flushing or water going down drains may cause lift stations to overflow and backup into your home.
- Limit the amount of toilet flushing.
- Abstain from running dishwashers and clothes washers.
- Limit the amount of water used during a shower or the amount to fill the bathtub.
- Turn off all sprinklers!
- Abstain from pressure washing, car washing, or any other outdoor use of water that is not necessary.
CUSTOMER RESPONSIBILITIES/UTILITIES RESPONSIBILITIES
- The Cocoa Utilities Departments is responsible for the water and sewer mains in the street and the service line up to the meter/backflow device, or sewer clean out at or near your property line.
- If your loss of service occurs on your property on your side of the service connection it is your responsibility to arrange for repairs.
- If you are unsure about who is responsible for the repairs, contact the Utilities Department at 321-433-8820 to confirm. However, responding to too many customer side issues can delay service restoration to other customers.
MAKING YOUR DRINKING WATER SAFE
Storms can result in damaged water pipes exposing them to contaminated ground water or causing a drop in pressure. Once the storm passes, check www.cocoafl.org for Precautionary Boil Water Notices. Treat your water supply as if it is unsafe to drink until you are notified otherwise. The Cocoa Utilities Department will issue and announce Boil Water Notices either directly or on our website, local news, or through the local Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
FOOD PREP AND DRINKING WATER
- Boil the water for at least 10 minutes
- If you do not have power and cannot boil water, add eight (8) drops of unscented chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Let the water sit uncapped for at least ten (10) minutes before drinking.
- Wash fruits, vegetables, or other foods with bottled or boiled water only.
- Use bottled or boiled water for making coffee, tea or any other beverages.
- Add fifteen (15) drops of unscented chlorine bleach per gallon to use for rinsing dishes, or use bottled or boiled water for rinsing. If you have electricity and your hot water is at least 170 degrees or the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle and includes a full dry cycle that is sufficient.
SHOWER AND BATHING
- Showering or bathing in tap water that is under a boil water notice is safe, however avoid getting water in your mouth. If you cut yourself shaving, use an antibiotic cream.
- Use bottled or boiled water to brush teeth.
- Ice already in the freezer before the storm and before the Boil Water Notice is issued is safe. Turn off the ice maker as soon as you know about the Boil Water Notice. Don’t use any ice made after the Boil Water Notice is issued.