Category Archives: For Your Information

For Your Information – Sewer Smoke Testing in Sea Palms – Thursday, July 18, 2019

Sewer smoke testing has been scheduled for Shore Rush Drive and Shore Rush Circle in Sea Palms on St. Simons Island for this Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Routinely, the Systems Monitoring Crew of the BGJWSC goes through the process of determining whether the wastewater collection system is leaking in such a way that ground water may be seeping into the system underground (infiltration) or through broken clean-out caps or manholes (inflow). This testing is done to ensure that the wastewater treatment process is run efficiently, meaning a financial savings for all of our customers.

When work is being performed in your area, you may find a tag hanging on your doorknob. The content of this tag is show below:


Sewer Smoke Testing Operations

The public wastewater collection lines serving you will be smoke tested during the next several days. This is routine testing performed by all sewer utilities to find breaks or leaks in the pipes, and to identify illegal or improper connections to the system. This testing also provides a valuable service to you, our sewer users, by simultaneously checking the plumbing in homes and businesses at the same time.

If smoke gets into your building while we are testing in the area, please do the following:

  • Open doors and windows, and turn on fans, to let the smoke out of the building;
  • Try to determine how or from what drain the smoke escaped into the building;
  • Leave the building or the room until the smoke clears.

Do not be alarmed, the smoke we use is not toxic and does not cause or indicate a fire. This product has been approved for use by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for areas where people are present. However, inhalation of large amounts may cause nausea, so try not to expose yourself to any more than necessary. Asthma sufferers should leave the area immediately as any chemical smoke may bring on attack.

Please repair any broken pipe, toilet seal, washer connections or other plumbing fixtures that allow this smoke to get into your building. If this smoke can get in, the sewer gas and odors can also get in the building. Call us if you have any questions or any other concerns.

If this work is being performed in your area, please review the tag and be prepared to contact us at 912.261.7151 if you have any concerns that we can address. We consider it a pleasure to serve you and aim to make services as efficient and reliable as possible.

Posted Monday, July 15, 2019 at 11:39 am.

St Simons Island Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing Project Beginning on May 1, 2019

Want to know more about the smoke testing methodology that will be used to help set maintenance priorities for our sanitary sewer collection system on St. Simons Island?

On Monday, April 29, 2019, members of JWSC staff will be present in room 108 of the St. Simons Island Casino at 550 Beachview Drive from 6:00 to 8:00 PM to discuss the project. A short presentation will be repeated every 30 minutes with time allotted for discussion. Please drop in when you can to hear more about this process that will use a mist that is safe for your health and for the environment.

The map below will be on display in large format and copies of the schedule will be made available so that you may be best prepared to see the crew members from McKim & Creed Engineering Consultants as they perform this essential work:


Doorknob notices will be distributed a few days in advance to commencement of testing in an area.

One significant product of this study is the identification of defects in our sewer mains and private service connections that may be contributing to an increase in wastewater processing costs at the treatment plant due to rainwater pouring into manholes and clean out connections (known as inflow) and groundwater seeping into cracks in pipes (known as infiltration).

Smoke may rise up in the street, in your yard or even in your house but our consultant will have their staff actively alerting you to their presence in your area while the work is being performed. The visual below may help with your understand of what paths this mist or smoke may take while venting out to the atmosphere:

To aid in your understanding, our staff has also produced the following videos on the subject:

2019 Strategic Business Plan Announced

As a roadmap for our continuous improvement, the BGJWSC has developed a Strategic Business Plan for 2019.

The initial presentation of the Strategic Business Plan was made on November 15, 2018. The recording can be viewed below and the slides used in the presentation are attached beneath it in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format:

Strategic Business Plan 2019-01-08 with Core Values Added

Our Strategic Business Plan is available in its entirety for those that are seeking a deeper understanding of our 20 initiatives. Updates may be posted here to accommodate necessary course corrections.

BGJWSC Strategic Business Plan 2019


Roadside Repair Work – Frederica Road at Palm Street on St Simons Island – October 1 and 2, 2018

If you are traveling northbound on Frederica Road north of the Sea Island Causeway, you may experience a slight delay as our staff works in the shoulder of the road. A sewer service repair is being made on the connection to the Glynn County Fire Station located at 3581 Frederica Road, close to Palm Street.

Work is expected to be completed by Tuesday afternoon, October 2.

Update 10/2/18 at 3:06 pm.: Due to weather delays the sewer work on Frederica in the area of the Fire Station on Frederica Rd, work was delayed and the project will be completed on Wed 10/3/2018. We apologize for any inconvenience.

For Your Information – Sewer Smoke Testing on Ogden Drive – Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sewer smoke testing has been scheduled for Ogden Drive in Brunswick for this Thursday, August 30, 2018.

Routinely, the Systems Monitoring Crew of the BGJWSC goes through the process of determining whether the wastewater collection system is leaking in such a way that ground water may be seeping into the system underground (infiltration) or through broken cleanout caps or manholes (inflow). This testing is done to ensure that the wastewater treatment process is run efficiently, meaning a financial savings for all of our customers.

When work is being performed in your area, you will find a tag hanging on your doorknob. The content of this tag is show below: Continue reading

Latest Public Education Video – What is a Boil Water Advisory?

We value you as a customer. Your time is also valuable to us. To help you understand what work we are doing for you everyday, we are developing a series of short videos that aim to give you a basic understanding of processes, procedures and equipment that is used to provide you with high-quality water and sewer services.

We’ve already released videos related to how we communicate in an emergency, how a water meter is read, how budgets are developed, what causes water main breaks and others.

Our latest video is related to the process that we follow when there’s a water main break and why a boil water advisory is often required:

Other videos in this series are available on our YouTube Channel.

Over time, we will be developing many videos including the following topics:

  • How are Capital Improvement Fees Calculated?
  • How are Locates Done?
  • How Does Sewage Make Its Way to the Plant?
  • How is Sewage Treated?
  • What Causes My Water Pressure to Fluctuate?
  • What is a Bond and Why Do We Need Them?
  • What is a Hydrant Meter?
  • What is Backflow Prevention?
  • What is Confined Space Entry?
  • What is GIS? (Geographic Information Systems)
  • What is Okay to Flush? (Toilets are Not Trashcans)
  • What is Sewer Smoke Testing?
  • What is the Breakdown of Each Dollar That You Spend?
  • Why are Generators Needed at Pumping Stations?

If you have other ideas for videos that you would like to see developed, please feel free to contact me with your request.

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer
Director of Administration

FYI – What is a Boil Water Advisory?

What Exactly is a Boil Water Advisory?

We take every measure that we can to ensure that your water is safe to drink. You can normally expect your water to flow to your house at around 60 pounds per square inch (PSI). This pressure, coupled with a small amount of chlorine that’s added at the water plant, helps insure that no harmful bacteria gets a chance to grow. A boil water advisory is a precautionary notice sent out to alert customers that a main break has caused system pressure to drop below 20 PSI. Due to this drop in pressure, bacteria may get a chance to breed and spread through the pipes. The chances of this happening may be slim, depending on how quickly we are able to restore service, but we are still going to alert you to this situation out of an abundance of caution. Until an all-clear notice is given, boiling water intended for direct consumption for at least three minutes is advised.

What Can We Do To Prevent Them?

The most important thing that anyone can do to prevent a boil water advisory is to call 811 before you dig. Some main breaks are caused by unauthorized excavating in the area of our utilities. Other main breaks are the result of natural causes or failures in material. However, making the free call to the Georgia Utilities Protection Center helps reduce the risk of hitting our mains, power lines, communications lines or gas lines as each utility will provide either a paint marking or flag indicator of the services located underground, as depicted here:

Why Are They Becoming More Frequent?

The precautionary boil water advisory process has been in United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (EPD) guidelines for many years. Prior to Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, the BGJWSC did not follow the guidelines as a policy and there was no statutory enforcement of the notifications by either the EPA or EPD.

During the Hurricane Matthew response efforts, we put out a boil water advisory for the St. Simons Island district due to a major and significant service outage caused by a main break. That advisory was prompted by the recommendation of an agent of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA) embedded in the Glynn County Public Safety Complex (911 Center) at the time and was considered the right thing to do considering the large number of affected customers. We have subsequently made the decision that the right thing then is still the right thing now and into the future.

How Will I Be Notified?

We will now issue these warnings following the EPA and EPD guidance: a drop of pressure below 20 PSI for any length of time will warrant distributing a boil water advisory to the affected citizens using the most effective means available to us. Our staff will then test water samples for bacterial growth for 24 to 48 hours. Once the testing has completed without an indication of harmful bacterial growth, we will issue the all-clear.

We are presently sending that notice out from our website, to radio and print media, social media, and to those that have subscribed to our website to receive these and other regular updates. We’re pursuing more active methods to deliver the notice, such as via text or phone, but will, at the least, continue to use the existing methods, which has been approved as a ‘best practice’ by the EPD.

Please subscribe to our website to receive emails from us or follow our Facebook and Twitter pages as well to ensure that you are getting the fastest, most accurate information delivery regarding the services that we provide to you.

Why Do Restaurants Have to Close Down?

Periodically, the Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission (BGJWSC) is required to issue boil water advisories that may affect the water service provided to food service establishments.  Glynn County Environmental Health, through Foodservice rule 511-6-1-.03 subsection (2)(n), requires the person in charge of a food service establishment to discontinue operations of the establishment until the boil water advisory is lifted.  However, operations may continue if the food service establishment has an approved emergency operations plan on file with Glynn County Environmental Health prior to the occurrence of the event.

The BGJWSC and Glynn County Environmental Health understand that discontinuing operations for 36-48 hours is never the preferred option for the owner of the food service establishment.  Please click here to review a brochure outlining what each food service establishment must do to have an approved water interruption plan to prevent having to discontinue operations in the event of a boil water advisory.

For further information on the requirements for a water interruption plan, please contact Sheree Sheppard with Glynn County Environmental Health at 912-279-2940 or

FYI – Toilets Are Not Trashcans

Should it be flushed or not? Many citizens in our community may find themselves questioning whether or not they are able to flush certain substances/items. If you find that you are asking yourself, “can I flush this?” allow BGJWSC to help you.

Remember the 3 P’s: Pee, Poop and Paper. Only two things should ever be flushed down the toilet through our sewer system, human excrement and toilet paper. Both are easily broken down within the sewer system allowing it to work as designed. It is safe to say anything that is not one of the two should be disposed of by other means.

Here is why:

  • Kleenex, paper towels, wet wipes ­– These items may have “flushable” on the label, but believe us when we say that they are not. They are designed to absorb and hold moisture not break down in it.
  • Band-Aids/dental floss – Though small, these items are not biodegradable and can wrap themselves around objects already in the plumbing causing small clogs that could lead to bigger ones.
  • Diapers – Made mostly out of absorbent plastic, diapers will quickly become stuck in your toilet’s piping causing almost immediate sewer back up.
  • Hygiene Products – Q-tips, cotton balls and feminine products do not break down in water which can cause a blockage over time.
  • Fats, Oils, Grease – Any kind of cooking substance or food should be disposed of by other means. They may be a liquid while they are warm, but once they cool off they solidify causing pipelines to gum up.
  • Corrosive/Poisonous – Cleaning materials should be disposed of carefully. Flushing these down the toilet may cause harm to the sewer infrastructure or the processes at the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Medication – Liquid or pill form medication should never be flushed. Medication is very harmful to the processes at the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Solids – Of course, no type of solid item, such as plastics, should ever be flushed down the toilet.

Flushing any type of these items can cause a blockage in the sewer system that may result in the community or your own sewer becoming blocked. Blockages to your home plumbing could cost thousands of dollars. Do yourself a favor and simply dispose of these items in the proper ways.

Remember Toilets are not Trashcans!

For more information, , the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is working collaboratively with other associations and groups to find common ground and safe solutions for both utilities and the environment.  The Association is advocating for elimination of harmful products and ingredients when possible and education of the public about proper disposal practices.  In addition, the Association is working with its members and other partners to create and support programs that continue to bring this vital issue to the forefront.

This For Your Information post is available as a printable PDF here: Toilets_Are_Not_Trashcans

For Your Information – Fluoride in the Water

Did you know that the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission stopped adding fluoride to the drinking water system in 2013? Why was fluoride added to the drinking water in the first place? What was the cause of the policy change and what does this change to our drinking water production mean to our health as consumers of this precious resource?

Consumers of the water produced by the JWSC may be surprised to discover that very little is done to change the water from the point where it is drawn from the deep wells served by the Upper Floridan aquifer to their point of use at home. The pure water that we drink is tens of thousands of years old. Chlorine has to be added to minimize bacterial growth when the water sits stagnant in the distribution system, but very little processing or filtering is done, otherwise. Going to the source of this process, W.O. (Billy) Simmons, Jr., the Superintendent of the Water Production Division of the JWSC, offered his perspective of an experience that he has been involved in for most of his adult life, having started at the City of Brunswick Water Department in 1983. “Over thirty years ago, the City of Brunswick was adding fluoride. The GA EPD provided grants for the purchase of equipment to start injecting fluoride. We had five stations at the time and the equipment was added at once in the early 1980s,” Simmons said (2016).  The Glynn County water system had gone through a similar process and had already discontinued injection at their seven stations before the merger of the two respective systems in 2008. We’ll soon look at why the Georgia Environmental Protective Division of the Department of Natural Resources would be taking such an active role in the fluoridation process, but it may first be helpful to understand what fluoridation is, exactly, and what benefits it provides. Continue reading