The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) advises that in the event of a water outage, after water service is restored customers should take the precaution of not drinking their tap water without first heating the water to a rolling boil and holding it there for one minute. When your water comes back on, you should first open all the taps in your house and flush them until the water is clear. After flushing your faucets and other taps, VDH calls for the extra step of boiling the water before consuming. This precaution is due to the potential for the loss of pressure in a water system to allow contamination to enter the distribution pipes.
Low or zero water pressure could occur for various reasons, but the most common cause is a water main break. When there is a water main break, Scott County Public Service Authority (SCPSA) follows industry standards when repairing pipes in order to protect the quality of the water and the health of consumers, including properly disinfecting, flushing, and sampling the water. Following water outages, including those caused by water main breaks, SCPSA collects two or more water samples for bacteriological testing to verify the pipes were disinfected and flushed adequately. If any of those samples test positive for bacteria, then SCPSA will notify our customers immediately. Therefore, once 48 hours has passed since the water came back on, customers may resume normal use of their water without boiling unless SCPSA has issued an alert about any positive bacterial tests.
For additional guidance and answers to water outage related questions, you may call VDH at 276-676-5650.