Frequently Asked Questions

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Customer Service (843) 832-0075

Billing 

When is my bill due?
We have three billing cycles for our customers. If  you are a sewer only customer, your bill is mailed on the 1st Tuesday of each month and due on the last day of the month. If you are a water customer or a sewer commercial customer, your bill is mailed on the 2nd Tuesday of each  month and due on the 5th of the following month. If you are in the St. George billing area, your bill is mailed on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and due on the 10th of the following month.

When is my meter read?
We begin reading meters on the 3rd Monday of each month for most customers. If you are a St. George customer, your meter is read around the 10th of each month.

Can I pay my bill online?
You can pay your bill online with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Please refer to our payment options for more information.

If I am cutoff for non-payment, when can I get reconnected?
If you are cutoff for non-payment and have paid the past due balance plus the late fee, a reconnect work order will be issued by the department. If it is the day you were cutoff, the work orders will be sent periodically throughout the day. The field personnel will do all the reconnects before they go home. If you payment is received on a non-cutoff day, the reconnect will be scheduled for the next business day. If you are a sewer customer, please do not use the plumbing until a notice stating you have been unplugged is hanging on your door.


Boil Water Advisory

What is a Boil Water Advisory? A Boil Water Advisory warns residents that their water may be contaminated. Often, breaks in a water main or loss of pressure in the water system are to blame. While an advisory is in effect, affected residents should heat water to a vigorous, rolling boil for at least one minute before they drink it or cook with it.

Does a Boil Water Advisory affect how I can use my toilets?
No. There is no need to disinfect water used for flushing.

Why boil water?
Boiling water kills dangerous bacteria and parasites.

How long should I boil the water?
Bring water to a full rolling boil at least one minute. Allow the water to cool. Then improve the water’s taste by moving it from container to container a few times.

Is bottled water safe? Yes, if it's from a reliable, known source.

 

Do filters on faucets, refrigerator dispensers and pitchers keep water safe from contamination?
No. Most filters do not eliminate bacteria. In fact, once an advisory has been lifted, residents should flush out all plumbing lines and fixtures with running water and replace all water filters.

Can I use ice from the refrigerator/freezer ice machine?
No. The ice may be contaminated. Throw it out. Turn off the ice maker. When the notice or advisory is lifted, DCW&S will tell residents how to flush out plumbing lines and fixtures with running water. Do this before reactivating the ice maker.

Is it safe to wash dishes, cups and utensils in my dishwasher?
No. Dishwashers aren't capable of disinfecting water completely.

Will my coffee maker render water safe?
No. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and coffee machines do not get hot enough to hold water at a rolling boil for at least one minute. Only use the coffee machine with boiled water, bottled water from a known source, or treated water.

How should I wash fruits and vegetables?
Fruits and vegetables should be washed with boiled then cooled water, treated water, or bottled water from a known source.

How should I make ice?
Ice should be made with boiled then cooled water, treated water, or bottled water from a known source.

Can I wash my hands with tap water?
Maybe. Vigorous hand washing with soap and tap water may be safe for basic hygiene. But when washing hands before preparing food, use boiled then cooled water, treated water, or bottled water, along with hand washing soap.

How will I know when the danger has passed? How can I be sure my water is safe again?
DCW&S will publicize the news that the crisis is over and the advisory or notice has been lifted . They will also advise you on steps you may need to take. For instance, they may tell you to flush your water lines and fixtures with running water for five minutes and replace all your water filters.


Water Service

What is a backflow prevention program? A progressive program required by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to detect and prevent possible sources of non-drinking water from entering the public utility drinking water system.

What is a cross-connection?
Cross connections are connections between drinking water and other water or fluids of unknown quality. This connection between clean water and other substances is called a “cross-connection.”  Dorchester County’s backflow prevention program, required by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, is designed to identify and prevent cross-connection. A backflow preventer may be required if water or fluids of unknown quality co-exist on the same property with drinking water. Indirect cross-connections are made by garden hoses and temporary connections that may be connected for only a short time. Direct cross-connections are permanent hard pipe installations.

What is backflow?
Backflow is the backward flow of water through a pipe. The normal direction of water flow is from the utility water main into homes or businesses. The backflow of water from home plumbing systems into the community drinking water supply happens when water is pulled backward due to a pressure loss in the utility main pipe. Back siphonage creates a vacuum as water drains toward the community water system. Water or fluid can be siphoned or pulled into the utility main water line. Example: a garden hose with one end immersed in a pail of soapy water or a hose immersed in a swimming pool.

How can backflow be prevented?
Backflows can be prevented by installing a backflow preventer. This device is installed on a water service that will only allow water to travel in one direction – from the public water system to the customer. Three commonly required backflow preventers are the Double Check Valve Assembly (DC), the Reduced Pressure Zone Assembly (RP), and the Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB). All of these protect your public utility drinking water system from backflow created by back siphonage and back pressure.

Who needs a backflow preventer?
Backflow preventers will be required if there exists an actual or potential hazard for a cross-connection. Some of the hazards include: commercial and residential irrigation systems and fire sprinkler systems.

What is an example around the home that could be a source of cross-connection and what can you do to prevent this from happening?
Potential Problem: A water hose that is attached to fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide sprayers could contaminate your water supply. You can reduce the risk of contamination through this type of cross-connection by shutting off the water supply to the hose at the faucet when you are finished. Even if the hose has a valve on the nozzle attachment, any decrease in water pressure could siphon the water from the hose, or the sprayer, back into your plumbing system.
Fix: Purchase a hose bib vacuum breaker, available from any hardware store, that will prevent back-siphonage.
Potential Problem: A hose left in a bucket or utility sink for cleaning.
Fix: Remove the hose from the bucket or sink and shut off the water at the tap.
Potential Problem: Underground irrigation systems are one of the types of cross-connections posing a health hazard to the public drinking water system. Contamination from the herbicides, pesticides, and animal droppings can enter your irrigation system when below ground sprinkler heads are used.
Fix: Installation of a backflow prevention device.

Why do backflow preventers need to be tested every year?
The backflow preventer is a mechanical device that needs maintenance just like an automobile. The annual test indicates if the internal check valves and mechanics are working properly and protecting your water.