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Hurricane Preparation

Storing water before a storm

Storing your own tap water is the most economical way to make sure you have safe water during an emergency. Here are some helpful tips on how much to store and how long to keep it:

  • Store one gallon of water per person per day. Plan for at least 3 days. Don’t forget about water for your pets. Fill bathtub with water for cleaning or flushing.
  • Store water in quality plastic containers. Make sure the container has been washed well before filling. Don’t use containers that once contained chemicals or toxic material.
  • Tap water stored in clean, airtight containers in a cool location should remain safe indefinitely. However, you may want to change your emergency water supply every six months to ensure freshness. Use the old water for plants.

If a boil water notice is issued

A boil water notice is issued by public health officials if there is concern that a disaster or other event has the potential to contaminate the water supply. Boiling your water is an effective way to ensure that your water is safe to drink. Water should be boiled for at least three minutes (five minutes at higher altitudes) before drinking. If you have power, refrigerate any leftover water.

Grinder pump customers

A small number of customers are connected to the sanitary sewer system by means of a grinder pump that is now owned by MAWSS. If there is a power failure which affects your home, your grinder pump will also experience a loss of power and will not be able to operate. Most tanks will hold 24 hours of normal sanitary waste flow, but water use should be limited until power is restored. For extended power outages, there are several options:

  • Provide emergency power through a generator. This requires disconnecting the pump from your home electrical service so it can be powered separately by a generator. A licensed electrician can install a transfer switch at the house service box. 
  • Arrange for a septic tank service company to empty the tank as needed. Join with neighbors to negotiate a price for multiple customers. 
  • Relocate until the power is restored.

If one of the above options is not implemented, you risk an unhealthy situation. Develop a plan before an emergency occurs.

After the storm

  • Sanitary sewer overflows can occur during heavy rain events. Avoid flood waters and creeks.  
  • Check area for uprooted pipes and water leaks. Report problems to MAWSS at (251) 694-3165. 
  • Keep yard debris off the water meter. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

Important to know

MAWSS is not the only water provider in Mobile County. Know the name of your provider in case alerts are issued. Know how to turn off water to your home in the event of a water emergency. Most water can be cut off at the meter.


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