Greater Pine Island Water
Association Inc.

Hurricane Tips

The Greater Pine Island Water Association, Inc. encourages all customers 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

  • Locate your home’s emergency water shut-off valve and remove any shrubbery or obstructions.  Test the water shut-off valve to be sure that it is operational.  If the shut-off valve is not operational, have it repaired or replaced.

  • It is recommended that before the storm, customers store as much water for later use as possible. It takes 3-5 gallons to flush a toilet. Bathtubs are good for storage, as are five gallon buckets, jugs, coolers, etc.  Remember, most stored water can later be re-sanitized for drinking. Water that you have saved in bottles before the storm should be good for up to six months, if properly stored. Proper storage means leaving no air in the container and storing in the dark. When in doubt, disinfect it. It is a good idea to keep at least three gallons of drinkable water per person on hand. This will give you a three day buffer before you have to worry about obtaining water from other sources.

  • If you evacuate, shut off the water to your home. A vast majority of the leaks we find after a hurricane are at homes that had been evacuated and/or destroyed. The biggest single leakage problem is from broken water lines running to hose bibs and fish cleaning sinks on the docks of homes.  When hurricane warnings are issued, please shut off the water supply to these hose bibs and sinks also.

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.

  • Use disinfected or bottled water to brush your teeth.
  • Use disinfected or bottled water to give to pets.
  • To prevent the spread of disease, wash your hands frequently with  disinfected water and soap
  • Don't use water that has a dark color, an odor,  or contains floating material.
  • Use water stored in the bathtub, from the pool,  or from the tap to flush the toilet.
  • Don’t drink or cook with water from the pool.
  • Bathing or showering with tap water is fine, but don't let it get in you eyes, ears, or mouth.
  • If you shave with tap water, dab any cuts with antiseptic.
  • Only use bottled water for cleaning contact lenses.  Wash your hands  with disinfected water before handling contact lenses.
  • Don't drink water from wells, especially in areas of sewage contamination.

  • You can avoid most health problems by disinfecting any tap water you  use for cooking or drinking.

  • Always used clean containers.

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 6,700 households directly that the Precautionary Boil Water Notice has been rescinded. It is recommended that customers 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).