Water Blog

Yikes! I have a High Bill! What now?

You just received your bill, and it is way more than you usually pay! Spring and Summer months usually result in the increase usage of water for irrigation, swimming pools, outside usage such as washing cars.

A sudden spike in your water bill is a sign that you have a water leak somewhere in your home, underground lines to your home from the meter box, or in your irrigation system.

Conservation of water for communities mandating lush, green lawns and landscaping year round is strongly encouraged. The more usage by irrigation systems, the higher the associated bill!

Healthy landscapes need only one inch of water a week.

Ideas to consider are irrigating on every other day, less time irrigating, and ensuring sprinkler systems are properly scheduled to avoid over watering.

The Environmental Protection Agency has several tips for conservation!

Manage Your Irrigation System

Watering and irrigating efficiently can reduce water use by 20-40 percent, saving you money on your water bill. 

  • Adjust your irrigation system often. Irrigation schedules should be adjusted based on seasonal changes.
  • Set sprinklers to keep the water on the landscape and off the pavement. Lots of water is wasted by poorly designed and neglected sprinkler systems that spray sidewalks, driveways, and the street. Save water by directing sprinklers toward the landscape. 
  • Inspect your irrigation system monthly. Check for leaks, broken or clogged heads, and other problems, or engage a certified irrigation professional to regularly check your system. Clean micro-irrigation filters as needed and correct obstructions in sprinkler heads that prevent them from distributing water evenly.
  • The checklist “Find It, Flag It, Fix It: A Checklist For Your Landscape”  provides tips on how to identify irrigation and landscape issues and when you might want to call an irrigation professional for assistance.
  • Remove water-hogging weeds. 
  • Mulch to retain moisture. Mulch around trees, shrubs, and flowers to help the soil retain moisture and prevent weeds.
  • Prune plants—smaller plants require less water. 
  • Use drip irrigation to apply water slowly and directly to the roots of plants and trees.
  • Water during the optimal time between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • Install a rain sensor to prevent irrigation during a rain event.
  • Inspect your irrigation system and equipment for leaks.
  • Consider installing a smart controller for your irrigation system
  • Test sprinklers and spray heads to ensure they work properly and direct them away from paved surfaces.
  • Check for WaterSense! A certified irrigation professional can design, install, maintain, or audit your system to ensure you're using the proper amount of water to support a healthy landscape. Ask if your irrigation contractor is certified by a WaterSense labeled program.

As a part of this effort, customers are encouraged to inspect pool systems and irrigation systems for leaks.

Leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings are a significant source of water waste for water utilities and the residential customer. Research has shown that the typical home loses 2,000 to 20,000 gallons (7.6 m3 to 76 m3) of water per year due to leaks. 

Some leaks are readily apparent, such as dripping faucets and leaking water heaters. 

Unfortunately, many leaks go undetected for years because the source of the leak is not visible.  When leaks are hidden, the water escapes undetected, such as caused by deteriorating toilet flapper valves and cracked water supply lines. 

Individually or collectively, the leaks in a single home can easily waste thousands of gallons of water each year; costing money to BOTH the water customer and the utility. (Alliance for Water Efficiency)

What can you do? Start by locating the leak, then take the necessary steps to repair it.

How do you begin to locate the leak? Watch the water meter!!!

If you suspect a leak, monitoring your home’s water meter will give you a definitive answer.

  • Turn off all water faucets in your home and make sure the washing machine and dishwasher are not running.
  • Check the water meter and write down the numbers you see.
  • Look on your home’s water meter for a small triangular dial in the center labeled "Low Flow Indicator."
  • Watch the triangle to see if it rotates, which means there is a water leak somewhere inside or outside your home.
  • The next step is checking for signs of a leak in your indoor plumbing.
  • Come back in an hour and check again. If the numbers have changed, there is a leak somewhere.

To determine if the water leak is in the house or outdoors, turn off the shut-off valve on your home’s main water supply pipe. This is either located in a basement or a utility room where the water pipe enters the home.

Check the water meter, write down the numbers, and wait another hour. When you check again, if the numbers have not changed, the water leak is inside your home. If the numbers have changed, the leak is in the buried water line that runs to the house.

If the leak is in the buried water line, call an experienced plumber to repair or replace the water line.

What happens if it is in not in my house or the buried water line?

If there are no signs of a leak in the home or the water line from the meter box, the leak is probably somewhere in your sprinkler’s irrigation system. Leaks mainly occur in a valve box or a broken line/sprinkler head.

  • Turn off the water supply to the irrigation system.
  • If the low flow meter on the water meter stops spinning, you have a leak in your irrigation system.
  • Check for irrigation controller problems, your sprinkler valves, lines, and sprinkler heads.

Signs of a leak include the following:

  • Flooding around the sprinkler’s base may indicate malfunctioning valves that are not shutting off properly.
  • Water sprays/geysers usually indicate missing spray heads.
  • Water spraying between sprinkler heads could mean you have a cracked lateral line.
  • Water laying in the grass between sprinklers usually indicates a steady leak coming from an underground pipe.
  • Water spurting from a sprinkler’s base could mean that a seal is broken where the riser or nozzle connects to the underground supply line.

If you notice any of the above, fix the leaks or call an experienced plumber. A little maintenance and prevention will save a lot of money in the future.

North Carolina Utilities Commission appoints Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina Emergency Operator for the Kinnakeet Wastewater System

CHARLOTTE, NC – On July 29, 2022, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) requested Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWSNC) to step in immediately and become the emergency operator of the Kinnakeet Wastewater Treatment System.

The Public Staff of the NCUC, the consumer advocate, conducted a thorough investigation. The regulators determined that the wastewater treatment system was in a “real emergency” because of the loss of adequate sewer treatment.

“CWSNC is honored to help and proud of its record with similar situations. We are already part of the coastal community through our operations in several locations throughout the Outer Banks, including Monteray Shores and the Village of Nags Head,” commented Don Denton, President of Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina.

CWSNC has deep experience in fulfilling such an essential role. Regulators previously asked CWSNC to step in as emergency operators to run troubled systems from the mountains to the coast.

An appointment as the emergency operator for Mountain Air, a community located near Spruce Pine in western North Carolina, is an example of the positive changes brought about by CWSNC.

“From the moment CWSNC became the emergency operator at Mountain Air, we have seen activity in the community unlike anything we had seen before. They are professional operators who develop plans and execute them daily. They prioritized the items that needed to be done and acted accordingly. Their trucks were visible many times during the day. I wish we had made the decision and requested their actions as an emergency operator earlier in the process,” said Steve Jacobs, Property Owners Association President for Mountain Air.

CWSNC will immediately focus on safety, reliability, and compliance with regulations. The company anticipates significant investment in necessary replacements and upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant to achieve environmental compliance.

Customers will see an increase in CWSNC staff in the community, as well as an influx of outside contractors in the near future.

“Customers in Kinnakeet will benefit from access to our 24/7 Customer Experience team, our My Utility Connect online billing and communications application, and our extensive operations expertise. Again, CWSNC is proud to begin operating the system and we welcome the Kinnakeet customers,” commented Denton.

The rate for the Kinnakeet wastewater customers is the NCUC approved rate of $85.12 per month. This is the standard flat rate for all wastewater customers of CWSNC.

 

Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina

Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina, a Corix Group of Companies subsidiary, provides safe, reliable water and wastewater service to over 45,000 residential customers across the state of North Carolina, from Murphy to the Outer Banks.

 

Want to check your water quality reports online?
Check out the Drinking Water Watch of NC DEQ!

Drinking Water Watch

This report is provided to summarize current information in the PWSS database. Water system components--such as each well, intake, treatment plant, storage tank and the distribution system--are referred to as facilities.  

Each water system has at least one facility.  Water system facilities may have one or more sampling points associated to them.  As an example, a plant facility might be labeled as P01 with the entry point (sampling point) known as E01.  A water system's monitoring requirements are determined from facility information and the number of customers served by the system.

Drinking Water Watch Tutorial - YouTube

Click here for the Drinking Water Watch

Water Quality My Water Smells - What Does it Mean?

Have you noticed a sulfur smell when you turn on the water at the sink, in the bath, and hot water? Do you sometimes see a pink residual in the bathtub or sink?

The water that comes to your tap actually contains small quantities of many substances. Most are beneficial, such as the appropriate amount of a disinfectant, like chlorine, that helps keep your water safe from germs and fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay.

Carolina Water Service is required to follow all the state and federal water quality standards to provide our customers reliable water.  This means we must treat the water before it gets to your home to remove potentially harmful bacteria. 

What is the primary reason the smell or the pink residue (which is bacteria) may happen? Your water filtration system may be removing the chlorine or chloramines Carolina Water Service uses to treat your water. This may explain why your neighbor beside you or down the street, who is not using a water filtration system water has no smell or residue.

How can you prevent the smell and other issues from happening? If you must have a water filtration system in your home, it is strongly suggested that you monitor the filters, change them frequently.

Filters are recommended to be checked and replaced every six to eight months by most manufacturers. If you have not checked your system or the filters, it is recommended to do so as soon as possible. It is a good practice to keep a replacement filter(s) on hand to make the switch helpful and easy.

Another common occurrence is a “rotten egg” odor. Many times, this is caused by a reaction between naturally occurring sulfates in the water and a corroded magnesium or aluminum anode rod in water heaters. To get rid of the odor, you’ll need to flush and disinfect your water heater tank and consider replacing the anode rod with a zinc or aluminum-zinc alloy rod, as they do not react negatively to sulfates.

Carolina Water Service receives calls to test customer’s water that smells or is cloudy. When the company sends an operator to your home to conduct the water quality test, the water is always taken from an outside spigot to obtain water before it reaches the in-home water filtration system. Over 95% of the test reveal no signs of smell or cloudy appearance.

To seek more information about water and filtration system, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website at https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water

 

Water Quality Hardness – What Does it Mean?

Hard water contains high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium ions. Calcium and magnesium occur naturally in soils. As groundwater or surface water comes into contact with these minerals, they may dissolve and enter the water supply. Calcium and magnesium help give water a pleasant taste and are necessary for our health. A small portion of our necessary dietary intake of calcium and magnesium comes from the water we drink.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations with enforceable standards on the number of contaminants allowed in drinking water. These standards protect the public from contaminants that may pose a risk to human health.

All public water providers must meet the requirements of these standards when supplying water to their customers.

In addition, the EPA has a set of standards known as the National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations. These standards are recommended guidelines that water providers can follow, but the standards are not enforceable. Substances found on this list are not harmful to human health but may cause unpleasant taste, odor, and color changes.

This link is to a complete list of EPA’s Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Regulations: the EPA has not placed calcium or magnesium on either list. The reason is that neither substance is considered harmful to health or thought to cause concerns with taste, color, or odor.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/npwdr_complete_table.pdf

One parameter on the Secondary list related to water hardness is Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). TDS is a measure of all dissolved minerals in the water. The recommended maximum standard for TDS in drinking water is 500 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Above this level, the taste and color of the water may be affected, and it may leave deposits on appliances and dishes.

Water hardness is measured in the laboratory by the amount of calcium carbonate present. Although there is no set standard for the classification of water hardness, the following chart provides generally accepted classifications based on the concentration of calcium carbonate.

 

Water Hardness Measured as Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)

Concentration in (mg/L)

Classification

0 to 60

Soft

61 to 120

Moderately Hard

120 to 180

Hard

More than 180

Very Hard

Source: United States Geological Survey (USGS); The USGS Water Science School, http://water.usgs.gov/edu/hardness.html

Water classified as hard will leave mineral deposits on faucets and dishes and may have a salty taste but will not negatively affect human health. Some parts of the country have very hard water with typical concentrations of calcium carbonate ranging from 200 to 300 mg/L in drinking water.

Carolina Water Service utilizes groundwater as our primary source of drinking water. North Carolina’s groundwater supplies are naturally high in calcium and magnesium ions, so groundwater is usually hard. Hardness levels are higher in areas along the coast and throughout the sandhills area.

 

 

 

To Flush or Not to Flush? We have the Answers to this Question!

Today, there are many products on the market that promise the consumer that it is flushable. Baby wipes, clean wipes, feminine hygiene items such as tampons, adult diapers, and multi-layer toilet paper cleaning wipes, and even pre-moistened towelettes all claim to be flushable. But guess what? This is not the truth.

The truth is that these products create blockages in the sewer system and your lines costing up to thousands of dollars to repair. Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWSNC) crews spend hours clearing the wall of wipes out of our wastewater treatment plants. Some people say, “well it went down the toilet fine.” However, once it hits a bend in the line, it gets stuck and if everyone flushes a lot of these items, then we have blocked sewer lines.

There are only three things that you can flush down the toilet - urine, feces and toilet paper. Just remember that the only this to flush is human waste, or the three Ps: pee, poo, and paper.

Here is a list of things not to flush.

Paper Towels
Cosmetic Wipes
Baby Wipes
Condoms
Tampons and Pads
Dental Floss
Contact Lenses
Cotton Swabs
Diapers – baby or adult
Facial Tissues
Medication
Cigarette Butts
Hair
Chewing Gums and any Food
Cooking Grease and Oil
Bleach
Band-Aids
Paint
Cat Litter
Dryer Sheets
Cotton balls

The toilet was invented only to dispose of human waste and if you use it for other than this one purpose, you damage your plumbing, cause the community to face sewer issues and can pollute the water supply in some instances. Flush smart and help CWSNC keep our wastewater treatment systems working to their greatest capacity!

 

 

A Boil Water Advisory – What is this and what do I do?

You receive a call, text or email about a water main break and a boil water advisory from Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina (CWSNC).  But what does this mean? Is my water safe to use? What do I do? Below is information about what a Boil Water Advisory is and what you need to do to keep your family safe during these notices.

A Boil Water Advisory is a public health recommendation from CWSNC advising customers to boil their tap water before using it. This is in response to an event that could have allowed contaminants to enter the water distribution system. Because the water quality is unknown, customers should assume the water is unsafe to drink and take the necessary precautions listed below.

When does CWSNC issue a Boil Water Advisory?
Typically, we issue a Boil Water Advisory after a water main break repair, small or widespread loss of pressure in our water system, or a natural disaster.

In some cases, our crews can repair a water main while maintaining adequate pressure to prevent contamination from entering the water distribution system. (When we do a repair in this way, no Boil Water Advisory is needed.)

When we issue a Boil Water Advisory, we notify only the customers affected. If the risk of contamination is widespread, CWSNC will put information on our website, notify customers using our My Utility Connect application to inform the public. You can also find these notifications on our website under the Service Alerts Tab – the red tab at the top right corner of the website.

How long will a Boil Water Advisory be in effect?
An advisory will remain in effect until bacteriological test samples show the water is safe to drink. Bacteriological testing typically takes 24 to 28 hours to complete.

What should I do during a Boil Water Advisory?
Boil tap water before using it for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth or preparing food. Bring tap water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute and let it cool.

Should I use my coffee maker, water or ice dispenser when a boil water advisory is in effect?
During an advisory, do not use water from any appliance connected to your water lines. This includes water and ice dispensers in your refrigerator/freezer. Use boiled or bottled water to make coffee and ice.

How should I wash dishes during a Boil Water Advisory?
Household dishwashers are generally safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle.

To wash dishes by hand:
Use boiled water; or wash and rinse dishes as normal. Then in a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household bleach for each gallon of warm water. Soak dishes in basin for a least 1 minute. Let dishes air dry completely.

Should I bathe or shower during a Boil Water Advisory?
It is safe to bath or shower but be careful not to swallow any water. Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Can I wash my hands during a boil water advisory?
Yes, vigorous handwashing with soap and your tap water is safe for basic personal hygiene. However, if you are washing your hands to prepare food, you should use boiled (then cooled) water, disinfected or bottled water with hand washing soap.

What if I drank some of the water before I found out about the advisory?
This advisory was issued as a precaution, so your risk of getting sick is very low. However, if you begin to have a fever, diarrhea, or nausea you should seek medical attention.

How will I know when the advisory or notice has been lifted?
CWSNC will rescind the Boil Water Advisory when the results from the testing have been confirmed that the water is safe to drink. You will receive your notification the same way you were informed of the advisory.

Is a Boil Water ADVISORY the same as a Boil Water NOTICE? NO!
We issue a Boil Water Advisory when water contamination is possible. In an advisory, we recommend that affected customers boil CWSNC water before consumption or use bottled water. A Boil Water Advisory is voluntarily issued when water contamination is possible. We provide the notification as a courtesy to keep our customers safe just in case.  During an advisory we recommend that customers vigorously boil water for at least 1 minute before consumption or drink bottled water.

We issue a Boil Water Notice when contamination isconfirmed in the water system. During a notice, affected customers must boil their water before consumption or use bottled water. A Boil Water Notice is required by law to be issued when contamination is confirmed in the water system. During a notice, affected customers must boil water before consumption or use bottled water.

If you have any questions, call our Customer Service Department (800) 525-7990.