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In the event of an extended time period without power, Brunswick County has the ability to use vacuum excavation trucks to empty the grinder tank. In the case of a significant storm event requiring mandatory evacuation, it is expected that water usage will be minimal.
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Brunswick County will only cut off water to a community if the Mayor of that community declares a mandatory evacuation. Even then, Brunswick County Public Utilities will not completely turn off water until such time as it is unsafe for staff to remain at these locations. If a less intense storm is anticipated, it may only be necessary to limit the flow to beach communities while still maintaining a minimum pressure. Any such decision is made jointly with officials in that town, based on storm decisions as they occur. Our goal is to maintain water availability throughout the storm, only shutting off water service to vulnerable beach communities well after a mandatory evacuation is declared in order to protect the integrity of the system in and effort to maintain both fire protection and potable (drinkable) water supplies.
Shutting off water to individual houses, especially those on the oceanfront, may provide some level of protection if plumbing pipes are damaged during the storm. However, care should be taken when this is done. Some household appliances, such as water heaters, require water to operate properly and may be damaged if left powered on without a water supply. Therefore, homeowners should consider powering off (shutting off appropriate breakers) if they choose to turn off the water at their house. The homeowner should use their home's private shut-off valve to the plumbing system to turn the water off; County equipment and valves in the meter box should not be tampered with. There is electronic equipment in the meter box that may easily be damaged by unauthorized personnel. It is worth noting that if a storm dictates that a mandatory evacuation be proclaimed for a community, Brunswick County will either limit the pressure of shut off the water to the community immediately after the storm's impact.
This is very unlikely. A typical grinder tank installed by Brunswick County has over 360 gallons of capacity above the point that the alarm comes on. Most single-family residential houses use much less water than during a typical day when showers, washers, dishwashers, etc. are being used. During a storm where power is lost, water usage is reduced considerably. Usually, showers, washers, dishwashers, etc. are not used when the power is out, thus extending the time it takes to fill the grinder tank.
If you use a generator capable of running high water usage appliances, it is recommended that you also power the breaker(s) to your grinder pump stations. If the generator is capable and wired to energize the entire house, then the grinder pump will work as normal.
This is very unlikely. Typically, Brunswick County grinder pumps are part of a low-pressure system designed to have other similar-sized grinder pumps connected to the system. It is rare that a pump is not capable of pumping due to high pressure in a low-pressure collection system. However, if this occurs, as pumps turn off in the system upon emptying their basins, any pumps that are "dead heading" will eventually begin to pump down.
Damage assessments play a critical role in how local governments respond to and recover from events. While everyone's first response is to start the cleanup, these assessments are important in determining the needs of our community as a whole. For the county to get an accurate idea of the amount of damage that is storm-related, we ask that you hold your debris while keeping categories including vegetative debris, construction and demolition debris, electronics, household trash, appliances and metal, household hazardous waste, etc. North Carolina has several landfill bans in place for many of these items. Having the items separated is key in making sure we uphold the law and the safety of all our emergency responders. If you do decide to haul your storm-related debris to the landfill prior to the assessments, normal tipping fees and long lines are likely.