Can I flush disposable wipes?
No, disposable wipes, rags, clothing articles, and paper towels should not be flushed because these combine with fats, oils, greases, and other debris to cause major clogs within the wastewater collection system and treatment facilities. The fibers contained within most “flush-able” wipes are not biodegradable. Also, if your house has a low pressure grinder pump, the pump may become damaged and the property owner could be responsible for the costs of repair. Please see the Grinder Pump informational brochure which discusses the use and maintenance of grinder pump systems: https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/files/utilities/2015/02/util_grinder_brochure.pdf
A briefing regarding legislation in the District of Columbia regarding flushable wipes provides additional insights into the issue:
How long will it take for my new grinder pump to be installed after I have applied for one?
It may take three to six weeks depending on the type of grinder system installation. If a sewer tap needs to be made for connection to the low-pressure sewer system within a NC DOT area, an encroachment application must be submitted by Brunswick County to the State, which can extend wait time to up to three months. Prior to the contractor/homeowner applying for pressure sewer service, siding must be installed, underground power must be installed to the structure, and final land grade must be established. If any of the above steps are not completed prior to service request, the timeline for installation will be regenerated. After the basin is set, an additional request by contractor/homeowner is required at completion of customer side electrical and plumbing installation. This is referred to as start-up, allowing County staff to inspect customer side connections with the pump being tested, ensuring the system operates as intended.
I am having work done on my home and need to locate my sewer line. How can that be done?
All Brunswick Counties locates can be requested through the NC 811 ULOCO system. You can call 811 and request that all utilities located at the service address be located by the appropriate utility owner. A standard locate may take up to 3 business days, and emergency locates will be taken care of as soon as possible. Please note that any water or sewer connections beyond the water meter box, gravity sewer clean out, or County owned grinder station are owned and maintained by the property owner and will not be located or maintained by Brunswick County Utility Staff.
What can I do to prevent sewer overflows?
Sewer overflows on a grinder system are typically caused by a pump failure. When your alarm goes off, please call one of our emergency numbers and refrain from heavy water usage, i.e. washing machine, dishwasher, showers and baths. Another thing that will ensure your pump operates properly is by not putting prohibited items into the sewage system, i.e. wet wipes, grease, and feminine hygiene products. These items shorten the lifespan of your pump and may cause a sewer overflow. It is not suggested to shut down the breaker. Silencing the alarm is all that is necessary until staff arrives for repair.
What do I do if the alarm on my grinder pump sounds?
We ask the homeowner to silence the alarm if they can, it is not necessary or recommended to turn off the breaker to the grinder pump. Please call in to our maintenance line (910) 253-2657. On the grinder pump control panel, there is an information sticker with our after-hours phone numbers as well.
Will the Coronavirus affect my drinking water?
Brunswick County’s two drinking water treatment plants are designed to filter and kill all kinds of viruses including COVID-19 the Coronavirus. The EPA mandated through the Safe Drinking Water Act that all drinking water treatment facilities designed and built in the United States be able to inactivate viruses and bacteria. The disinfection process of using chlorine is very effective at inactivating (killing) viruses. The World Health Organization has recently published a technical document describing the Coronavirus as having a “fragile outer membrane” that is generally less stable and more susceptible to oxidants such as chlorine (page 2 of document).
More information regarding COVID-19 and drinking water can be found here:
What do I do if my water is running brown/murky?
This can be caused by many factors within the home plumbing system and/or public distribution system. This discoloration is not a health risk. Run your tap for fifteen to twenty minutes, and if the problem persists, please call us at (910) 253-2657.
The possible causes are-
Flushing: Piping in the distribution system leading to your home may be rusty or have loose sediment, creating rusty-brown/murky water when disturbed. When valves in the public system are operated (opened or closed) rust and sediment can be dislodged. The operation of fire hydrants, flushing or routine maintenance in your area, and rust can also cause discoloration in the water.
Water heaters and galvanized or iron plumbing: If you are having trouble and your neighbors are not, then your home plumbing or water heater may be the issue. Some common characteristics of a corrosion problem in your home plumbing include:
- The discoloration is only in the hot water
- The water is discolored every morning or when first used after several hours of disuse
- The water clears after it has run for a few minutes
- The discoloration is only at one or several faucets in your home, not all of them
When it comes to leaks, what is my responsibility and what is the county’s responsibility?
Brunswick County is responsible for the service line from the water main at the street to the back side of the meter box, the tie in point where the plumber/homeowner makes the connection. Please note that if the homeowner requests a service call for a leak and it is found to be on the customers side, the County is not responsible for the repair. Furthermore, a fee for the site visit will be issued to the party responsible for the account. If the problem IS found on the County side, the repair will be made with no charge to the customer.
How can I get my water tested?
Your local health department should assist in explaining any tests that you need for various contaminants. If your local health dept. is unable to help, you can contact a state certified laboratory to perform the test. To find a state certified laboratory in your area call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or visit https://slphreporting.ncpublichealth.com/Certification/CertifiedLaboratory.asp#