Distribution Operations

Distribution Operations is a division of the Utilities Department.  Distribution Operation is responsible for the maintenance of the City of Florence’s water distribution system.  The staff consists of 23 full time employees.  We serve approximately 32,060 customer connections. The City produces on average 9,000,000 gallons of potable water per day that is delivered through a matrix of pipes approximately 750 miles in length.    

Our mission is to maintain safe potable water from the source to the end users tap through approved installation techniques, repair techniques and regulatory practices.  

 Our strategic plan includes:

     • Reliability
     • Maintaining Consumer Confidence
     • Improving Customer Service
     • Leadership and Employee Development
     • Operational Optimization
     • Being Good Stewards of the Environment 

How to report a water leak

During normal operating hours 7:30 am – 4:00 pm you can call our Public Works Department at 843-665-3236.  After hours and holiday calls will be forwarded to our City of Florence Police Dispatch at 843-665-3191.  It is helpful to give as much information as possible when reporting a leak. Normally, the city will repair any leak in the distribution system up to point of delivery, which is the water meter.  If the leak is beyond the water meter it is considered to be private plumbing and a responsibility of the customer to repair.  

What to expect after a water leak is repaired on your service connection by the City

A water leak on your service connection will most often result in the loss of water to your residence while the leak is being repaired.  Once water service is restored, there may be trapped air in your plumbing system and some water discoloration.  You will need to open your faucets to expel the air and discolored water.  This condition should clear up fairly quickly.   

What to expect during isolated shut downs of the distribution system

Unfortunately, unforeseen events happen that result in segments of the distribution system to be shut off to make emergency repairs.  In this event, the city will issue a boil water advisory.   

What is a Boil Water Advisory?

A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is a precautionary statement issued to our customers advising them to boil their drinking water before consumption.  This is normally issued in response to surrounding activities that could allow contaminants to enter the distribution system.  A BWA does not mean the water is contaminated, but that conditions occurred in which the water quality is unknown and consumers should assume the water is unsafe until proper analysis can be conducted.

A water main break or scheduled maintenance that results in small or widespread loss of system pressure will require the issuance of a BWA.  When ruptured water mains occur and we are required to issue a BWA, we will notify door to door only the customers affected within this service area.  If the BWA is wide spread, the City may utilize available media such as television or radio to notify consumers as soon as possible.

In some cases, we can maintain a high enough system pressure to greatly reduce the likelihood of contaminants from entering the distribution system.  In this case, no boil water advisory will be issued. 

What should I do during a Boil Water Advisory?

You should boil tap water vigorously for at least one full minute prior to using it for drinking or cooking. This process should be used on any water designated for human or pet consumption, brushing teeth, and making ice.  Boiling water will remove any harmful bacteria present in the water that may cause illness. Please allow the water to cool properly before consumption.

Boil Water Notice 

A Boil Water Notice is different than a Boil Water Advisory.  A Boil Water Notice is issued when contamination is confirmed. If you are issued you a Boil Water Notice you must boil your water or use bottled water and follow any additional instructions cited in the notice.  

Boil Water Repeal

After analysis has confirmed no contamination is present a boil water repeal will be issued. Once water service has been restored and samples are collected, this process usually takes anywhere from 18 - 24 hours to confirm.  Once again, consumers should assume the water is contaminated until you receive a boil water repeal.  To contact us, please call 843-665-3236.  

Suspicious Activity 

To report any mysterious activity to our water distribution or collection system call 843-665-3236. This may include unauthorized fire hydrant use or activity in or around meter boxes.

For the do it yourselfers - Tips on leak detection  
If you are experiencing high water bills and suspect there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing, try the following easy steps to save money and locate it on your own:

Step 1: Locate and observe your meter

1. Read the water meter, noting the position of the red clock-style hand that records individual gallons. 

Wait at least 15-30 minutes without turning on any inside or outside water fixtures. 

Read the meter again to see if the red hand moved. If it did not, there are probably no sizable leaks. Waiting longer between meter readings (overnight, for instance) might help you detect smaller leaks. 

If the red meter hand moved, check all of your faucets for visible leaks. If no leaks are visible, then check toilets.

Step 2:  Checking the toilets for leaks

1. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the tank. (Take the opportunity at this point to check float level.  If water is going into the over flow tube, adjust float level.)

Wait one- two hours to see if the coloring appears in the toilet bowl. If it does, there is this usually indicates a leaky flapper.   

Repairing this type of leak is normally inexpensive and easy to do. Replacement parts and kits with easy to follow instructions are available at most local hardware stores.  If no leaks are visible, then check for underground leaks.

Step 3:  Checking for underground leaks

1. Turn off water at the house cut off. 

Open faucet to verify that the valve is working; the water flow should stop completely. 

Go outside to the meter—if the meter is still running, there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing between the meter and the house. 

NOTE:  After making repairs, repeat the meter reading procedure to verify that all leak(s) have been properly repaired.