Tap Water – An Essential Part of a Hurricane Preparedness Plan

Public Health & Safety

In the days leading up to a major storm, stores may scramble to meet the demand for bottled water. While bottled water is convenient, Orange County Utilities’ customers already have a reliable source: the tap.

Our tap water delivers. Monitored 24/7, the water produced in the County’s facilities meets or exceeds state and federal standards. At just over $1 for the first 1,000 gallons, it’s an excellent and cost-effective source for emergency supplies that doesn’t add plastic waste to the environment.

How to Store Tap Water for Emergencies

During an extended weather event, plan to have one gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days. Here’s how to store tap water safely:

  1. Choose the Right Container: Use food-grade containers that are unbreakable and have tight-fitting lids. Avoid containers that once held toxic substances.
  2. Sanitize the Container:
    • Wash with dish soap and rinse thoroughly with tap water.
    • Make a sanitizing solution with 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach per quart of water. Pour into the container, cover, and shake to ensure the solution touches all surfaces. Wait 30 seconds, then empty the container.
    • Let the container air-dry before use or rinse it again and fill with OCU tap water.

Post-Storm Water Usage

After a storm, it’s crucial to avoid overwhelming the wastewater system. Over 860 lift stations in Orange County pump wastewater from residences to treatment facilities. Immediate and excessive water use from households can strain lift stations affected by power outages.

If you’re aware of power outages or severe flooding in your area, limit the water going down a drain to minimize the risk of a sewer backup or overflow. When you have power again, minimize water usage in dishwashers, washing machines, and baths for at least a day. Power at the lift station may not have been restored yet.  If you must drain a large quantity of water, do it gradually instead of all at once.

Stay Informed

To receive important, timely information, update your account details online at www.ocfl.net/PayUtilities. For the latest storm information, visit www.ocfl.net/UtilitiesStormInfo.

OCU tap water supports public health, fire protection, the economy, and quality of life. You rely on it every day—make it a key part of your hurricane preparedness plan.

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