The Greater Pine Island Water Association, Inc. encourages all members to be prepared ahead of an approaching hurricane. GPIWA would like to let you know what to expect in the way of water service if/when we have a storm. As the storm approaches a special team of water plant operating personnel will staff the water plant and maintain water service to you until a mandatory evacuation order is issued for Pine Island. Once the evacuation order is issued, a hard decision must be made as to whether the hurricane team stays on the island, or leaves. If we feel unsafe conditions warrant the team’s evacuation, the water plant system will be shut down and your water service will cease (storm surge is our biggest fear). If we choose to stay and continue to staff the plant, we will maintain water service as long as we can maintain normal water pressure.
Depending on the severity of the storm, it could take hours, days or a week or more to get the water back on to all our customers. Not only will the electrical/mechanical systems at the water plant and pumping stations need to be repaired, but also the waterlines in the ground and the service laterals to your homes must be repaired to near leak free conditions in order for the system to build sufficient water pressure.
Before the Hurricane
After the Hurricane
GPIWA can store up to two million gallons of safe drinking water at the water plant (9550 Stringfellow Road). After a hurricane, an onsite gravity water manifold will be set up so that the water in the storage tank can be distributed at the water plant to Island residents. Residents must furnish their own containers. While the water being distributed is safe to drink, it is highly recommended that you wash your containers out with a household bleach solution beforehand to maintain the water quality you receive.
Our procedure for getting a damaged water distribution system repaired and back on line is to isolate water service to individual neighborhoods and make all of the main line repairs along Pine Island Road and Stringfellow Road. Once main lines are repaired, we focus on individual neighborhoods.
How we decide who gets their water back on first is based on need. Our first priority is special needs communities and hurricane shelters. Our second priority is to get water back on to the largest number of people in the fastest time possible. After we take an extensive post-hurricane survey that separates the water distribution system into three regions (North, South, and East) priorities are set based on where the least amount of damage was sustained. With priorities set, we then systematically move out from the water plant, repairing as we go. It should be noted that GPIWA only has five skilled employees on staff capable of repairing water line damage. They are responsible for the maintenance of 23 miles of main water lines and 40+ miles of neighborhood service lines.
The last and most crucial information....when your water comes back on, it may be contaminated and is definitely not safe to drink. If you lose water service you should consider your home automatically under a "Precautionary Boil Water Notice" issued by the Health Department. CLICK HERE for GPIWA’s Precautionary Boil Water Notice “Facts You Need to Know”). The “Precautionary Boil Water Notice” order will remain in effect until bacteriological samples have been taken and come back cleared of contamination.
After a storm GPIWA will not have the ability to notify every one of our 7,000 + households directly that the Precautionary Boil Water Notice has been rescinded. It is recommended that members keep informed through local television, radio stations, and/or our web-site (pineislandwater.com) if the internet is working. We will also post informational notices outside our office at 5281 Pine Island Road, and, if the telephone system is working, please feel free to call us with questions (239-283-1071). Make sure the primary cell phone number is on your account with our billing department to receive text message updates when systems are restored.
OUR LARGEST STORAGE TANK HOLDS 3 MIL. GALLONS & PROVIDES BACKUP TO OUR 2 MIL. & 750K GALLON TANKS.