To serve you better, we've assembled a list of our customers' most frequently asked questions. If you don't find your answer here, feel free to contact us.
My bill shows water usage when I wasn’t even there???
This is a question we hear a lot during the winter months, so we thought we would take this opportunity to (hopefully) clarify some things.
First of all, we bill for usage month before last, so it can be confusing. Be sure to notice the dates of the readings which are included on your bill.
Most of you know that it’s a good idea to turn your customer valve off when you are going to be away for any period of time, even if it is just for the weekend. Most homes have a turn off valve(s) at the house. There may be cut off valves at the hot water heater, under the kitchen sink, or at the toilets.
You may not realize that you have a customer valve within 3 feet of our meter, at the street. This is the one you should definitely always turn off if you are going to be gone for a few days. The pipe going from the meter to your house still has water in it when you turn off one of the valves at or inside your house, and if we have sustained freezing temperatures (like we’ve been having the last few years!) this pipe can freeze and burst, spewing water into your front yard. Your house will be protected, which is good, but you still have a large water bill, a soggy yard, and a plumber bill on top of that!
So here are some tips for you to protect your home and water supply in your absence.
- Cut off your water supply with your customer valve at the street.
- Turn off your water softener.
- Turn off your irrigation system.
- If you have done this and are still showing some usage, then possibly your customer valve is not holding. They do wear out.
- With all water faucets turned off, go out and look at the meter. There is a “leak detector” – a small red triangle. If this is turning, water is going through the meter.
- If there is a leak visible at our meter, we will come check it out. Otherwise you will need to have a plumber come to fix the problem.
My water usage is higher than normal. Do I have a leak?
Leaks come in all shapes and sizes. Common causes of high water usage in our area are issues with irrigation systems, toilet leak, water softener issues, dripping outside showers or spigots.
Remember, we live at the beach and water leaks outside the home may not be visible as the sand absorbs water quickly.
What do I do if I am experiencing low pressure?
Check your meter and the surrounding area for possible leaks. If you have a water softener, check your filters. Next, call our office and report low pressure for your area.
Why is my water discolored?
A repair could have been completed recently allowing air to enter the line, causing the milky look.
What does BBWC do to the water?
After it is pumped from the wells, we treat it with chlorine to disinfect it. We also add orthopolyphosphate to prevent possible lead in customer pipes from leaching into the water.
Our water is safe and meets federal and state requirements. Bottoms up!
My water tastes, looks, and smells funny. Is it safe to drink?
All public water systems are required to maintain a minimum chlorine level of 0.2 mg/L (tested at the end of each line) by state law. Our disinfectant levels are tested daily to ensure safety. If your water has a rotten egg odor, please check if this smell comes from the hot water only. The smell builds up in hot water tanks, especially when the hot water is not used for an extended period of time. Run the hot water for 15 minutes and consider flushing your hot water heater (should be done twice a year). For more information about rotten egg odor, see the article titled "Phew! My Water Smells" on our Form & Reports page.
Why does debris come out of the faucet when running hot water?
Most likely your water heater needs to be flushed. CAUTION: Most manufacturers recommend hiring a professional to flush your water heater. If you plan on doing this yourself, read the owner's manual to keep from being hurt and or damaging the water heater.
Why do I have a previous balance when I know I sent in my payment?
We may have received it after the due date or we may not have received it at all. Call our office and we will help you solve the problem.
Why do my clean dishes look cloudy?
Have you noticed that the clean dishes you pull from the dishwasher are becoming more and more cloudy? In July of 2010, a ban on phosphorous in dishwasher detergents was passed to protect aquatic environments. These detergents have a difficult time making dishes shine - espcecially in hard water.
There are some things you can do to improve the situation. Use the hottest water possible; use a little more detergent; go for powders over liquids. Among the top cleaners tested by Consumer Reports are Cascade Complete All In 1 pacs, Ecover tablets, Finish Powerball Tabs tablets, and Method Smarty Dish tablets . Another great product is Lemi Shine found at www.EnviroconTech.com.
Where is my customer cut-off valve?
Most customer cut off valves are located in a green box, usually close to the water company's black meter box. We recommend that the customer use this valve as needed, but most importantly to turn off water:
- Before evacuating for a hurricane
- When leaving town for an extended period of time
- Or when winterizing their home.
Please go to our Meter Reading Page to view a photo of our Meters for clarification
NOTE: Any repairs or replacement needed for the customer cut off valve are the responsibility of the customer. Please call a plumber.
What is the hardness of my water and do I need a water softener?
Historically, BBWC water has had a hardness of approximately 17-18 grains per gallon. With the opening of our new reverse osmosis plant on Coast Guard Rd. in 2013, the water hardness in that area has changed considerably. Water from the RO plant has an approximate hardness of 3.0-3.5 grains per gallon. This softer water however mixes with the water pumped from other wells as it moves through the system to your home, so the hardness of the water would increase as you move away from the Coast Guard Road area.
For customers with water softeners we suggest you have the hardness tested at your home. You may need to have your softener settings adjusted. For those homes close to the RO plant you may want to bypass the softener and determine if the softeness of the water is to your liking.
What is that pink stuff in my bathroom?
Ever notice pink stains or residues that occasionally develop in moist areas in homes? They are generally seen in toilet bowls, around sink and tub drains, on shower curtains, and even in pet water dishes.
A pink residue is not a problem with your water quality, and is not harmful in this situation. It is evidence of bacteria that are common inhabitants of our environment. The most typical of these bacteria is one known as Serratia marcescens. These bacteria come from any of a number of naturally-occurring sources, such as soil, mulch, dust, and surface waters, and they thrive in an environment that is moist and high in phosphates. More people indicate the problem occurs in the summer months when temperatures and humidity are higher, and especially if windows are kept open for any length of time.
Serratia will not survive in chlorinated drinking water. However, where water stands long enough for the residual chlorine disinfectant to dissipate, such as a toilet in a guest bathroom, or on a shower curtain, the pink color may develop. Customers who remove the chlorine from their water by use of an activated carbon filter may also be more likely to experience the problem.
How Can I Get Rid of the Stains? Once established, Serratia is difficult to eliminate entirely. However, regular and thorough cleaning, followed by disinfection with chlorine bleach, is the best means to control the organism.
- Wipe bathtubs, shower walls and curtains, and around drains in order to dry them, followed by spraying or misting with a product that contains bleach or other disinfectant.
- For toilets, clean the bowl regularly. You may wish to add ¼ cup of bleach to the toilet tank, let stand for 15-20 minutes, and then flush the bowl a couple of times to fully rinse the disinfectant.
- Use care with any abrasives to avoid scratching a fixture or surface, which will raise the likelihood of bacterial growth.