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Severe Weather Tips

Sewer-Related Suggestions for Severe Weather

 

Please read the following information for recommendations before, during and after major storms and flooding. BCSS, like other wastewater utilities, is not responsible for pump systems and sewer service lines on private property. We suggest you use your best judgment in maintaining your system.
 

 

Before the Storm
  • Read all of the suggestions below
  • Stock up on water to use for drinking, hand washing, bathing, etc. in case something happens to your incoming water source. Preparing handwashing buckets can help to limit wastewater down the drains if the power is out for awhile.
  • If you have a visible cleanout on your property, make sure that the lid is completely sealed and not broken. If there is any crack or opening, have it repaired so that rain water does not get into the pipes and overwhelm the sewer system. Replacement parts should be easily found at a hardware store or online. This video provides instructions to fix a cleanout yourself, or you could hire a plumber or handyman. You could put a covering, like an upside down bucket, over the cleanout area until it is completed to prevent rainwater infiltration in the meantime.
  • Prior to power going out, if you have a grinder pump with a panel box that has a PUSH TO RUN button, press that button to empty the basin and allow for capacity to hold some wastewater.
  • If you own a grinder pump and your property is predicted to flood where the pump is, turn off switch for grinder pump in the main breaker box or in pump’s panel box prior to the heavy rain. Be sure to make a note to turn it back on once flooding subsides.
  • There are generator transfer switches available for grinder pumps. If you are interested in one, please contact an electrician to discuss having one installed.
    • Generator requirements for residential grinder pumps: 6500 watts minimum, 220 V 4 wire and it has to be wired directly into the power like normal power if you are able, but we recommend that an electrician complete this
    • Pump transfer switch for generator: 30 amp 220 Volt 4 wire – There have been some in stock at local hardware stores lately, and there should be several options online

During & After the Storm

  • BCSS will not be pumping down grinder pumps on private property, and we won’t be pumping septic tanks for at least 3 days after a hurricane.
  • When power is out in your area, limit flushing toilets and running water in faucets as much as possible. Even if you don’t have a grinder pump, this will help to prevent overloading nearby lift stations that pump wastewater to the WWTPs.
    • When conditions are safe for our employees, crews will work as quickly as possible to resolve issues with the sewer system that the hurricane has caused. During power outages, we utilize bypass pumps, back-up generators, pump trucks and all equipment and employees available to sustain the main sewer system throughout Baldwin County until permanent power is restored.
  • BCSS cannot service any grinder pumps that do not have power to them.
  • If your power is out for a long period of time and you have a grinder pump, the pump does not work without power (unless it’s connected to a suitable generator). Therefore, if you stay in the home/ building during this time, you should greatly limit water usage. There could be some capacity in the pump’s basin before it overflows from the vent on top of the lid, which is typically what happens if you continue to use water when the power is not working. A standard pump basin holds approximately 100 gallons of wastewater, depending on what type you have, and you can remove the pump’s lid when the power goes out to see the level in your basin.
  • If the power is out on your street for several hours or longer and you have a grinder pump, we suggest to turn off the pump’s breaker switch and wait 30 minutes after permanent power returns to turn the breaker switch on.
  • After your power and pump are back on, the pump should automatically work as usual. If for some reason the alarm is on longer than 15 minutes, you can try to troubleshoot or contact us or a plumber to schedule a repair. If the alarm goes off and stays off after 15 minutes, it was just resetting itself.
  • If you turned your pump’s breaker switch off because of possible flooding, turn it back on once flooding subsides.
  • Please call (251) 971-3022 to report sewer spills you see on our sewer system or to make a request.
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