Below is a collection of our frequently asked questions.
My bill is higher than my previous month’s bill. Why is this?
There can be many reasons for this including higher usage, and leaks. You may simply be using more water for gardens, car washes, pools, etc.
Please check to make sure your hoses, faucets and toilets are not leaking. Even if there are no leaks, check to make sure no water is running, especially your toilets. A running toilet can use over 1,000 gallons per day.
I received a high consumption letter, what do I do?
If you are unaware of any changes in water consumption that would cause such an increase, we urge you to take action to correct a potential internal plumbing problem. We recommend having the property checked for any internal leaks.
For easy tips on how to check your home for a leak before hiring a plumber, click here.
Please remember that internal plumbing problems are the responsibility of the property owner and will not be investigated by The Berkeley County Public Service Water District. If no leaks or internal plumbing problems can be detected, please contact Customer Service at 304-267-4600.
Why does the water sometimes appear cloudy? It looks milky or opaque.
Yes the water is safe to drink. The Water District routinely monitors for contaminants in your drinking water. All monitoring results are reported to the WV Bureau of Public Health. A disruption such as repairs in the water distribution system can sometimes allow air to enter the water pipes. Air will cause the water to appear milky or cloudy. If you place the water in a clean glass, the water will clear from the bottom to the top. You should run the water for a short period of time to flush any entrapped air from the lines.
How do I know my water is safe to drink?
All public water supplies must constantly sample the water pursuant to the required Federal and State regulations. The water is sampled on the following schedule:
1. Every month, 66 samples are collected for coliform bacteria. These samples are numerous in quantity and most frequent of all tests since they are the most important indicator of high quality drinking water that is safe to consume.
2. Inorganics – every year Nitrates and nitrites, metals, salts and other compounds naturally occurring or manmade.
3. Volatile Organics – once per year – these are components associated with items such as gasoline and dry cleaning establishments.
4. Radionuclides – every 8 years – these tests would indicate if naturally occurring or manmade radioactive components were found in the water supply.
5. Synthetic Organic Parameters – every year. These would be components associated with pesticides and herbicides and other man made compounds.
6. Lead and Copper – Lead and copper samples are performed every three years with the samples being obtained from more than 7- homes throughout the system.
Please also see the annual water quality report for some additional information on water quality.
If there was ever a time when water quality samples were not in compliance with Federal and State regulations, the public would be notified pursuant to the prescribed regulations.
Who is responsible for my water system?
The customer “owns” the water system from the point at which it exits the water meter, and is responsible for maintaining it in good condition and free from all leaks and defects. While the Water District “owns” the water meter and the pipe connecting it to the water main, the customer is responsible for preventing damage to the meter, the box in which it sits (the crock) and all pipes and connections to it. The costs for damages that result from negligence, misconduct or other actions by the customer or others may be billed to the customer. The Water District routinely checks meters for signs of normal wear and tear, tests and repairs or replaces the water meter as necessary at no cost to the customer.
Is There Fluoride In The Water?
Yes, the District adds fluoride to the water. The desired level is .7 mg/l which is the recommended level by the Centers for Disease Control.
Why does my water smell like chlorine?
The district occasionally receives calls from customers asking why the water smells like chlorine. The reason chlorine is added to a water supply is very basic, the level to which people notice the smell is very diverse.
The addition of chlorine to a water supply began in the early 20th century. At the time it was first introduced, water borne diseases in this country such as typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis were the primary cause of death to most Americans. The introduction of chlorine to a water supply had a remarkable effect of extending the longevity of human life. It is one of the greatest discoveries in the development of the human race.
Chlorine continues to be used today to be certain disease is not spread by the water supply. The District adds chlorine to the water supply at each plant.
Chlorine does impart an odor in the water which some people find undesirable. One means of reducing the chlorine odor from the tap water is to fill a container and leave the top off. Chlorine will dissipate from the water if left open to the atmosphere. Keeping a pitcher of water in the refrigerator at all times will ensure access to a cold and relatively odor free source of water. You can obtain 100 gallons of District water for about $0.50. It costs much more than that for only 1 gallon of bottled water.
There are devices sold at retail stores which remove chlorine from water at the kitchen sink. They do work, but, come with a cost. It is best to try the pitcher of water suggestion above before spending money on any device or buying bottled water. Save your money and drink plenty of tap water.
My water pressure seems to have changed recently, any advice?
Water pressure in the water mains is relatively constant. If you are observing a reduction in pressure, the first thing to do is narrow down where you may be experiencing the issue. If it is just in a location such as a shower head or a bathroom, there are certain things you can look for. If it is the entire house, then other probabilities are occurring.
One Location: If the pressure is lower in one location like a shower head, it is likely that material has accumulated in the shower head and just needs to be cleaned out. The same is true for a kitchen sink. Youtube “How To Clean Out A Faucet Head” for step by step instructions.
The Entire House: If there is a sudden reduction in pressure throughout the house, one should check for a valve that was operated or if applicable, if a pressure reducing device (PR Valve) has malfunctioned. You can also check for clogged filters if you have a whole house filtration system.
If you cannot determine where the pressure reduction is coming from, then please contact the office and we can check on the plumbing owned by the District.
How do I know if I have lead in my water?
Lead and copper have the potential to be dissolved in water but only if the conditions are conducive to such. Lead and copper are not present in the source of water. The can only enter the water supply if they are part of the plumbing system that conveys water to your house.
In order for lead or copper to leach into the water in the pipes, there must be older pipes that use lead solder or copper pipes that are commonly used. In addition, the water must be of a nature that will allow for the lead and or copper to be dissolved into the water. The amount of time water sits in contact with the pipes has an influence on the possible leaching of the lead and/or copper.
In order to minimize the probability of lead and or copper to enter the water, treatment is performed at the water plants to reduce any natural tendencies of the water to leach out the lead and copper.
The District is required to do extensive testing of the water supply to ensure the levels of lead and copper are below federal and state standards. The results of the testing have always and continuously indicated the levels of lead and copper are in compliance.
One way a homeowner can further ensure there is no lead or copper in their tap water is to flush the tap before filling up a drinking glass. By flushing the water for a few minutes to remove the first slug of water that may have been in contact with lead plumbing.
Where does my water come from?
In general, if you live south of Martinsburg, your water is either from the LeFevre Spring which is treated at the Bunker Hill Water Filtration Plant or from groundwater wells located at the Springdale Farm Well Field on Goldmiller Road.
In general, if you live north of Martinsburg, your water is from the Potomac River or the Potomac Station wells, and it is treated at the Potomac River Water Filtration Plant.
If I want to have the water lines marked so that I do not damage them while digging ditches, post holes, and planting trees, etc., who do I call?
The Water District is a member of Miss Utility of WV. They can be reached at 1-800-245-4848. Within a couple days the water lines will be marked with blue paint.
If you have additional questions about your bill or service, please contact Water District Customer Service at 304-267-4600 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.