Category Archives: General News

All-Clear for All Water and Sewer Systems – Friday, September 15, 2017

All Water and Sewer Service Systems Are Now Active for Brunswick and St. Simons Island

For the few remaining pumping stations that are not yet online, work is underway now at a rapid pace. These stations are in limited use and at very limited risk of contributing to overflows. We are confident that the remaining work can be managed over the next forty-eight hours and will continue to monitor all stations to ensure that we have accommodated the excess demand presented by the storm surge and ground water intrusion.

As such, the sanitary sewer overflows were widespread but contained very dilute and minimal human waste. Testing at our state-certified lab at our treatment plants indicate that the waste flowing to the plants contained more than three to four times the level of ground water and sea water normally expected, giving us confidence that the waste viewed coming out of manholes will be unharmful having now been exposed to sunlight. Also, coming rainwater will drain residue to the storm system. If locations are found where conditions are different than those described, we will address those concerns on a case-by-case basis in an expedient manner.

Have you signed up to receive our emergency notifications regarding service outages or boil water advisories? Please click here to subscribe: http://www.bgjwsc.org/subscribe-to-updates/

Our emergency updates are independent from the CodeRED system used by Glynn County. As we only have 709 subscribers in this new service at the moment, this system would have been ineffective for this event. Please subscribe now and help this become a more viable solution in the future.

Thanks again for your patience and understanding.

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer

 

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan Update 3 – Friday, September 15, 2017

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, some customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission continue to be under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan, except in the Exit 29/Southport area. Georgia Power has been diligently working to restore electricity to residences, businesses and critical infrastructure yet our wastewater collection system is still without power at 30% of our pumping stations as of 9:00 AM today. Local and state partners have provided much-needed resources, such as generators and fuel, and we will continue to work hard to restore sewer services system-wide.

If you have BGJWSC water service but have a septic tank, you are no longer under water restrictions. The early efforts to prevent excess strain on the water distribution system are complete. Thanks to everybody’s hard work, we didn’t have any pressure drops that would have prompted the need for a boil water advisory. Many thanks to you all for that.

If you live or have a business in the Exit 29/Southport area, all water and sewer systems are available.

If you live or have a business on St. Simons Island or Mainland Brunswick, we still have about 30% of our pumping stations offline waiting for power to be energized. Thanks in advance for your patience.

For residents and businesses on mainland Brunswick, aside from the Exit 29 area, and St. Simons Island, you are still under water and sewer restrictions in certain areas until all pumping stations have been energized and tested.

Water restrictions for those connected to our system will be in affect until an all-clear message has been posted here.

Certain customers have reached out to staff to confirm service availability. Those customers can have confidence that their service is safe to use.

I’ll also post neighborhood names at http://www.bgjwsc.org/outage since the outage map doesn’t make it that precisely clear that service is available and we want to give you confidence. Please check that page now to see if your neighborhood is listed. I’ll be updating it in real-time, so hit refresh until you see your neighborhood listed.

Those that have not communicated with us via email or Facebook can email us at outage@bgjwsc.org to confirm sewer service availability. Response time may be many hours depending on the volume. Please contact now if services are critical to public health but please wait until later in the day if services are not critical as many more sites will be up by the end of the day.

Businesses that serve food must have authorization from Department of Public Health (DPH) or Department of Agriculture (USDA) to open. DPH and USDA staff will reach out to BGJWSC staff to get confirmation of service availability. If you see a business open and serving food, that authorization has either already been given or that business may be in for a surprise when the inspector shows up today.

For those businesses that we were forced to shut down without giving advance notice, I send my personal sincere apology. This emergency measure was necessary to minimize sanitary sewer overflows. We’ll be very active in coordinating with Glynn County and City of Brunswick Police and Code Enforcement personnel to confirm your service availability and get you back in business as quickly as we can.

Have you signed up to receive our emergency notifications regarding service outages or boil water advisories? Please click here to subscribe: http://www.bgjwsc.org/subscribe-to-updates/

Our emergency updates are independent from the CodeRED system used by Glynn County. As we only have 656 subscribers in this new service at the moment, this system would have been ineffective for this event. Please subscribe now and help this become a more viable solution.

More details regarding the water and sewer restrictions are available here: http://www.bgjwsc.org/hurricane-irma-strict-water-sewer-conservation-plan-update-2-thursday-september-14-2017/

Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan Update 2 – Thursday, September 14, 2017

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, all customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission continue to be under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan. Georgia Power has been diligently working to restore electricity to residences, businesses and critical infrastructure yet our wastewater collection system is still without power at 45% of our pumping stations as of 12:00 PM today. Local and state partners have provided much-needed resources, such as generators and fuel, and we will continue to work hard to restore sewer services system-wide.

At this time, no district in our system is under a boil water advisory. The water is safe to drink according to established standards.

The following measures must be followed by all citizens to preserve the integrity of our systems, promote public health, and ensure protection of the environment.

  • No showers or baths should be taken.
  • Toilets should not be flushed if at all possible.
  • Sink use should be extremely limited.
  • Do not run dish washer or washing machines.

At this time, the following recommendations are being added to the previous conservation plan posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

  • Please stay off the road if you can. The safety of our crews is becoming a challenge.
  • Any restaurant that you see open has been approved by the Department of Public Health only after we have confirming sewer service is available.
  • There are many, many reports of sanitary sewer overflows, especially at manholes. Stop using water if you can until all services have been restored.
  • Please avoid automatic car washes: they’re adding to the problem.
  • Staff has begun communicating with high volume water users, such as commercial laundry, coin op laundry and dry cleaners, to determine if they are in sewer basins that are sensitive to overflow.

You can view the report below (previous reports had only been used in the Emergency Operations Center) and also click on the outage dashboard on the banner of our website. Please don’t accept any word you get second hand or through social media as definitive. This problem is not over yet and the systems will only become more fragile as masses of citizens arrive back home.

 

This water conservation policy shall apply for the next 48 hours, from noon on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 until noon on Friday, September 15, 2017, or until further notice has been posted on the BGJWSC website.

The staff and management of the BGJWSC understand the hardship this places upon you and your family but we must all work together to make sure that the entire community can be restored to normalcy as quickly as possible.

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan Update – Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, all customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission continue to be under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan. Georgia Power has been diligently working to restore electricity to residences, businesses and critical infrastructure yet our wastewater collection system is still without power at 75% of our pumping stations.

The following measures must be followed by all citizens to preserve the integrity of our systems, promote public health, ensure protection of the environment, and guarantee that available water and sewer capacity can meet the needs of the residents that did not evacuate and our present first responders:

  • No showers or baths should be taken.
  • Toilets should not be flushed if at all possible.
  • Sink use should be extremely limited.
  • Do not run dish washer or washing machines.

You may find that you have water pressure now but that pressure may be intermittent or go away completely due to the lack of available water in the distribution system. If any water is drained from the hot water tank, please turn off the breaker that supplies power in case power is restored before water service has been.

This water conservation policy shall apply for the next 48 hours, from noon on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 until noon on Friday, September 15, 2017, or until further notice has been posted on the BGJWSC website.

The staff and management of the BGJWSC understand the hardship this places upon you and your family but we must all work together to make sure that the entire community can be restored to normalcy as quickly as possible.

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, all customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission are now under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan. Estimates by Georgia Power place restoration of electrical services to begin no sooner than tomorrow morning, Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The following measures must be followed by all citizens to preserve the integrity of our systems, promote public health, ensure protection of the environment, and guarantee that available water and sewer capacity can meet the needs of the residents that did not evacuate and our present first responders:

  • No showers or baths should be taken.
  • Toilets should not be flushed if at all possible.
  • Sink use should be extremely limited.
  • Do not run dish washer or washing machines.

You may find that you have water pressure now but that pressure may be intermittent or go away completely due to the lack of available water in the distribution system. If any water is drained from the hot water tank, please turn off the breaker that supplies power in case power is restored before water service has been.

This water conservation policy shall apply for the next 48 hours, from noon on Monday, September 11, 2017 until noon on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, or until further notice has been posted on the BGJWSC website.

The staff and management of the BGJWSC understand the hardship this places upon you and your family but we must all work together to make sure that the entire community can be restored to normalcy as quickly as possible.

Hurricane Irma Service Outage Status Report

Due to the latest report from the National Weather Service, the BGJWSC has determined that the best course of action is to NOT turn off water and sewer services on St. Simons Island. The major determining factor for instituting cutoff procedures was the imminent threat of sustained tropical storm force winds. Though gusts may reach 60 mph, we expect winds to be within range of being able to adequately respond to any service outages.

However, we do anticipate possible isolated to widespread power outages that will affect services across Glynn County. We thank you in advance for your patience as our crews work diligently to restore services.

Please be safe throughout the inclement weather and continue to seek shelter until the skies clear.

Outage maps for our area are available via Glynn County EMA’s Emergency Management Dashboard.

Posted 3:48 PM Sunday, September 10, 2017

Water and Sewer Service Explanations and Update for Sunday, September 10, 2017

The following update is being provided as of 1:54 PM Sunday, September 10, 2017 to help provide an understanding of what decisions are being made for the health and safety of those in the community served by the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission.

History

Many have indirectly communicated that they don’t understand the decisions made in setting the service emergency response plans up. First, let me revisit the events that occurred during Hurricane Mathew. The original planning last year included the shutdown of water and sewer assets to protect the equipment and water assets in the best manner possible by de-energizing electrical systems and shutting off full tanks off from the lines that feed them. This was not an original plan but rather an approach one which has been developed by other utilities in the past and is still in use by a number of utilities including the JEA, our neighbor to the south of us that serves the Jacksonville, Florida area.

This plan was discussed with the community partners with the Emergency Operations Center executive team prior to Hurricane Matthew. At that time, it was deemed to be not doable due to various agency and community entities who were not able to make the needed adjustments in time for the hurricane situation which had arisen. Based on a community concurrence to provide financial support for any damages which resulted, the BGJWSC left all water and sewer equipment and assets on line and running during the storm.

This resulted in several issues which created greater problems after the fact. Among those problems was various electrical controls and pump motors being damaged by lightning strikes. Due to the sewage pump stations being left to start up when power returned, some pump stations started pumping sewage before the downstream pump stations had regained power or had been repaired after the lightning strike damages. This in turn, caused sewage to be pumped into full lines which then backed up into homes and spilled out into the environment and streets creating human health threats in those locations.

Continue reading

Hurricane Irma Water & Sewer Service Availability

Due to confusion over service availability and certain critical changes which have been made to the plan for water and sewer service throughout the Hurricane Irma storm event, BGJWSC is providing the following information regarding service availability:

Water service will not be interrupted on the mainland. Water service will be maintained on the mainland unless water lines or assets are damaged by storm effects to such a degree that water service can’t be maintained. Water pump stations are served by backup power generators to overcome loss of power from Georgia Power if and when that occurs.

Sewer service to the mainland will not be interrupted. However, some master assets will be taken out of service at 2:00 P.M. Sunday, September 10. System static capacity is sufficient to serve the remaining occupants who have to stay beyond the mandatory evacuation of Glynn County and the City of Brunswick. All master assets will be returned to service as soon as the storm has passed and permanent power is re-established.

Water service will be terminated on St. Simons Island at 2:00 P.M. Sunday, September 10 to facilitate a systematic or controlled shutdown of assets prior to Hurricane Irma’s impact on the island late that evening. This is to prevent damage or other system issues and to facilitate quick recovery once the storm has passed.

Sewer service will also be terminated on St. Simons Island at 2:00 P.M. Sunday, September 10. During the Hurricane Matthew event, several assets were left running and were damaged as a result. Due to this damage, their return to service went beyond power being re-established. In addition, numerous releases of sanitary sewage were experienced due to the lack of controlled restart of sewer assets. This again delayed entry into the area and caused potential exposure for those on the island to pathogens found in sewage.

Water and sewer systems will be restored on St. Simons Island as soon as the storm passes and permanent power is re-established provided that assets have not been damaged by storm effects.

With these efforts, our intent is to provide the quickest return of full service following the storm.

The BGJWSC thanks all our citizens for their patience and understanding.

BGJWSC Customer Service Survey

You’ve spoken and we have listened!

Please give a few minutes of your time today to complete this brief survey that we’ve prepared to help us gauge the concerns and needs that you face in your daily interactions with us. We highly value your input and will be presenting the initial results of this survey to our Public Information & Customer Relations Committee meeting at 10:00 am on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 (agenda pending).

That doesn’t give us much time to get started. However, I’m confident that through this online survey, the calls that I’ll be making to a random sample of active customers and contact with those that have visited our customer service area at 1703 Gloucester St, I believe that we can begin to get a clear picture of meaningful changes that can be made to make your experience with us more effective, more pleasant, and more satisfying.

This survey will be ongoing, though the questions may change as necessary. We sincerely hope that you will be honest and candid with us as we strive to serve you better.

Jay Sellers
Public Information Officer
912.261.7123
jsellers@bgjwsc.org

Online Payment Portal is Now Available

The new JWSC online payment portal is now available. You can view your past billing statements, print an old bill, pay current charges and set up a recurring payment, if you wish. The billing information is available through our website but, if you choose to make a payment online, you will be directed to a secure online payment center with Paymentus. There is a convenience fee of $2.75 per payment processed. Payments made online reflect immediately on your account. You may also submit your payment by telephone at 1-844-347-8236, by mail, by using our St. Simons Island drop box or by using the drop box in front of our main office at 1703 Gloucester St.

A valid account number from a statement sent after 7/1/17 will be required. Bills mailed after July 1st may have a different account number due to our billing system change. We are developing a method to search for your account number, but that functionality is not available at this time.

Your July billing may be delayed due to a careful review of all bills needed to minimize any chance of error. Once you have your bill in hand, please return to set up your account within our billing portal. If you choose to pay online, you will also be asked to sign up for an account with Paymentus. Though your username, email and password information does not forward over from our Citizen Access portal to Paymentus, they can be the same. Please keep in mind that you will need to update your email address and password at both locations if they change.

We apologize for the confusion and the inconvenience of not having access to the online payment portal during our conversion process. We have more software features coming and will let you know when they become available in the future.