403 Butler Avenue
Tybee Island, GA 31328
tel. (912)786-4573

Water & Sewer

Vision and Mission Statements
Vision Statement:

The City of Tybee Island Water and Sewer Department will be a utility that is a leader in providing public health protection; environmentally sound and innovative utility services using state-of-the-art technologies, proven operational expertise, resource planning and excellent customer service in a cost-effective manner. We will also strive to educate our constituents in preserving and protecting our environmental resources.
Mission Statement:

The City of Tybee Island Water and Sewer Department is committed to serving the needs of our residents, businesses, and visitors by providing high-quality drinking water, wastewater treatment and disposal services, and adequate water under sufficient pressure to provide system wide fire protection water while providing for future economic growth via progressive planning; implementing water conservation measures, and continuing education; safeguarding public health and  the environment;  providing for process improvements and cost efficiencies. In the light of being an oceanfront community, we are as well committed to being prepared in the event of a natural disaster to keep our services up and operating.

Water Dept. Contact Information
Dept. Contact Information:
Manager: George Reese

Stanley Bearden,
Water Pollution Control Plant,
If you should have a sewer back-up or drinking water problem after working hours or on weekends, call the Police Dispatch number, 912-786-5600, and they will get the person on call for the Water Department to start repairs.

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Low-flow toilets for sale from the City's Water & Sewer Department
Download the Stealth HET spec sheet here

As introduced at 2010’s water conservation workshops, the Water and Sewer Department continues to sell Niagara Conservation’s Stealth brand, low-flow/high efficiency toilets (HETs) at cost, which is $165, to Tybee residents.

Average US water use is up to 100 gallons/person/day, with one quarter of that used to flush toilets. 100 gallons per day adds up to 3000 gallons per month, which is the baseline included in water utility fees for your water bill! Without conservation efforts in a home with two or more people, you are likely to pay more than the minimum every month.

Older toilets can use as much as 13 gallons per flush. The first efficiency standards required that a toilet use no more than 6 GPF, while low-flow toilets use only 4.8 gallons, with higher efficiency toilets using as little as 3.5 GPF. The Stealth toilet uses only 0.8 GPF. While even 4.8 gallon toilets may leave us with the requirement of double flushing in some cases, the Stealth uses a system that creates a vacuum with each flush to pull the water out of the bowl at the same time that the tank is emptying to push the water out, making for a very highly efficient flush.

The result is that if there are at least two people in your home, you will quite likely see an immediate reduction in your utility bills within the first month of installation, with savings continuing every month thereafter! Niagara estimates typical savings of $100 per year, making your payback in less than two years. (Of course, your mileage may vary!)

You can download the spec sheet for the Steal toilet here  to see all the features.

Stop by City Hall’s Cashiers Desk to make your purchase and to receive instructions for picking up your device at the water plant.

Watering Restrictions

The State of Georgia has returned to a non-drought schedule for outdoor water use.  Under a non-drought schedule, outdoor water use is allowed three days a week on assigned days using odd and even-numbered addresses.

  • Odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. 
  • Even-numbered and unnumbered addresses are allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. 
Water use may occur at any time of the day on the assigned days, but to be water efficient, landscape watering should not occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

The rules apply to any entity, and its customers, permitted by EPD for water withdrawal or for the operation of a public drinking water supply system.


Local governments and water providers are authorized to implement more stringent outdoor water use schedules within their jurisdictions.

For more information about water schedules in your area, contact your local water provider. For more information on water conservation and outdoor water use, please visit these sites:

Water Conservation... to save YOU money AND protect our environmental resources for the future.
Water Conservation

Below, we consider repairing leakages that result in loss of water as one of the best ways to conserve; dripping faucets and running toilets can result in a very large amount water being lost. The City has recently installed a networked, automatic meter reading system which can help us to inform you when usage varies from one month to the next, indicating a potential leak. In addition to our education efforts and the AMR system, you should know that the City also attempts to conserve water by using shallow well water, which does not deplete our Floridan aquifer supply, to water the palm trees and grounds at various parks and on right-of-way areas around the city.

However, a great way to start conserving is to understand where your own water usage is starting - you may be able to cut back on some of your use when you understand where so much of your water goes. As charges for water use rise, both your base consumption as well as your leakage loss can contribute to your expenses! Estimate typical water use by using this tool at the US Geological Survey site,
http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sq3.html, and be sure to check out some of the other pages and resources there on water conservation.

A little leak loses lots! Just a slow drip can add up to 15 to 20 gallons a day, while a pinhole size faucet leak wastes 100 gallons in 24 hours!

Toilets are notorious for their hidden leaks. They can waste hundreds of gallons a day undetected. Leaks occur when the toilet is out of adjustment or when parts are worn, so it’s important to check the toilet periodically. Most toilet leaks are at the overflow pipe or at the plunger ball and aren’t hard to find.

  • If the toilet is leaking at the overflow, the water level is usually too high, although the overflow pipe sometimes may leak below the waterline. To stop this kind of leak, gently bend the arm until the valve shuts off the water about a half-inch below the top of the overflow pipe. Sometimes the valve is worn and will run like a leaky faucet and must be replaced. If you’re an experienced “do-it-yourselfer” you can do the job. Otherwise, call a plumber.
  • Plunger-ball leaks are only a little more difficult to spot. The best way to check is by dropping a little food coloring into a tank full of clear water and waiting to see if the color shows up in the bowl. If it does, you probably have a leak at the plunger ball, either because the ball needs replacing or because the mechanism is out of alignment. This is relatively simple repair for a “do-it-yourselfer.”

Aside from toilets, most leaks are found in faucets and are most commonly caused by worn washers. Check all the faucets in the house once or twice a year. If any of them drip after you’ve turned them off firmly, turn off the water supply line, take the faucet apart, and replace the washer. Usually it’s not hard, although some faucet designs do present a challenge. Any good household do-it-yourself book offers easy-to-understand advice if you need it.


Your water meter is the best leak detector in your home. Turn everything off carefully, so no water is being used anywhere in the house. Then check the position of the meter dial for about 15 minutes. If it hasn’t moved, congratulations! You have a relatively watertight home. But if it has, start checking hose connections, faucets and toilets.
In fact, the City is installing automated meter reading systems that will set off an alarm at City Hall if water consumption is beyond normal for any given meter. This will give the City the opportunity to conserve water and potentially save you money not only for water bills but from potentially more serious water damage in or outside your home!

Water Saving Devices

Many different kinds of water saving devices and fixtures are on the market, ranging from special reduced-flow showerheads to water-thrifty shallow-trap toilets. A variety of showerhead adaptors also are available to cut down water use from existing fixtures, although a little self-control to not turn faucets on full-blast does just about as well, at no cost at all. See a good plumbing supply or hardware store for advice, particularly when it’s time to replace an old fixture in the house.

Here are some examples of how much water can be saved by using these devices.

Age and Type of Fixture

Water Use Rate (gallons per use)

Estimated Annual Water Savings
in gallons per Household

Pre-1950 Toilet



1994 Toilet



Waterless Toilet



Pre-1980 Showerhead

8.0 gallons per minute


Pre-1980 Faucet

7.0 gallons per minute


Pre-1980 Clothes Washer

56 gallons per load


1990 Dishwasher

14 gallons per load


You can see that by replacing old, inefficient fixtures and appliances you can really save a lot.


Water heaters have been known to blow out and pipes have been known to burst. Occasionally, a faucet decides to become a fountain. When this sort of thing happens, you’ll want to know how to turn everything off before you needlessly waste a lot of water and possibly water damage.

Find the main shutoff valve that turns off water to the whole house. It’s usually located where the water pipe comes into the house. Check to see if you have a main shutoff valve that works. If you don’t, or it doesn’t, ask a plumber to stop by and correct the situation. 

The Bathroom

You can make the most substantial reduction in your personal water use in the bathroom.  More than 50 percent of the water used in an average home is used in the bathroom.  Much of that water may be going to the sewer needlessly, adding to the volume of burden on treatment plants.


About seven gallons of water goes into the sewer every time you flush your toilet. There are two ways to cut down: don’t use the toilet as a trash can and reduce the water per flush.

Toilets should not be used to flush away tissues, gum wrappers, cigarette butts, spiders, diapers or anything else that ought to go in a wastebasket or garbage can.  All of us do it at one time or another, but using the toilet as a wastebasket is just a phenomenal waste of water.

Most toilets use more water than is really necessary and work just as well with less. So, you can put a brick in the tank to displace some of the water right? Wrong! The extra weight might crack your tank. Besides, the bricks may begin to disintegrate after a while, causing serious and expensive problems in the plumbing.

Use a plastic soap or laundry bottle instead. It’s safe, easy and inexpensive.  Fill a few bottles with water to weight them and put them in the tank.  Be careful not to set the bottles where they’ll jam the flushing mechanism. Be sure you don’t displace so much water that you have to double-flush to get the toilet to work.  Double-flushing wastes water.

Showers, Bathtubs and Sinks

People used to think showers were less wasteful than tub baths, period. This isn’t always the case. Some people spend 10 to 20 minutes or more in the shower. Most showers pour out between 5 and 10 gallons per minute, and that can add up in hurry.

There’s no hard-fast rule. It’s a matter of self control. A partially filled tub uses far less water than a long shower, but a short shower uses less than a full tub.  Time yourself next time you step under the spray. The odds are you really don’t need to stand there that long; you don’t need the shower running at full-blast.

When shaving and brushing your teeth; don’t leave the water running.  Run as much as you need, then turn off the tap until you need some more.

The Kitchen

 You can conserve water in your kitchen without sacrificing taste or cleanliness. 

  • Automatic dishwashers claim the most water in kitchens — about 12 gallons per run.  The secret here is to make sure the washer is fully loaded before you turn it on.  It’s going to take 12 gallons whether there’s a full load of dishes or just a couple of cups.
  • Don’t bother rinsing the dishes in the sink before you put them in the dishwasher.  Scrape them clean and let the machine do the rest.
  • Are you the dishwasher in your household? Remember not to wash dishes with the water running. A sink full of was water and one of rinse water will do the job just as well.
  • Don’t let the faucet run when you scrub vegetables or prepare other foods, either. Put a stopper in the sink and use the water collected in the sink instead.
  • And for a cold drink of water, don’t stand at the sink and let the water run endlessly.  Fill a jug with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a refreshing cold drink anytime.

The Laundry

Many washing machines use 40 or more gallons of water a load, whether the washer’s stuffed full or loaded with only a couple of socks. Save up for a full load and make your water work efficiently. Or remember to set your machine for a lesser load, if it can be adjusted. As with the dishwasher, you save energy and electricity, as well as water.

For hand laundering, put a stopper in the washtub for both wash and rinse. Don’t let the faucet run.                                                  

Outside the Home

It’s a fact of life that when more water is used outside, more is wasted there. But you don’t have to let your lawn turn brown or the car turn dusty to conserve water. Use common sense instead.

Lawn & Garden

Locations that enjoy warm weather during most of the year often find half, or more, of the water piped into homes goes right back out through hoses onto lawns and gardens. Even in northern climates the same thing happens in summer months.

  • The basic principle of lawn and garden watering is not to over water. Don’t follow a fixed schedule. Water when the grass or plants show signs of needing it. During a cool or cloudy spell, you don’t need to water as often.
  • Heat and wind will rob your lawn of water before it can use it. Avoid watering on windy days, and you’ll avoid having most of the water go where you don’t want it. Water in the cool of the day to avoid excess evaporation and the chance of harming the lawn.
  • Weeds are water thieves, too, so keep the garden free of them.
  • Let water sink in slowly. Lots of water applied fast mostly runs off into gutters. Also, if you let water sink deep, the lawn will develop deeper roots and won’t need watering as often but will be more resistant to disease and wear. For a low cost soaker system, you can take a large plastic bucket and put several small holes in the bottom; by filling the bucket with water and letting it run out slowly, you can target trees or shrubs to help develop their root systems.
  • Make sure sprinklers cover just the lawn or garden, not sidewalks, driveways, and gutters. Use soaker hoses to direct your water more precisely to spots that need it.
  • Keep track of how long you water. A kitchen timer is a handy reminder for turning off sprinklers.  
  • Mow your lawn to minimum 3” in height for maximum insulation to the soil from sun and wind to minimize evaporation. NOTE:  Be sure to keep sharp blades on mowers; a “dull” blade leaves a ragged edge to the cut which promotes and spreads disease.
  • Minimizing watering to only once or twice a week actually promotes drought resistance of your yard by forcing deeper root growth and less time sitting wet overnight propagating fungal growth.
  • Also note that the city has an ordinance requiring that a water sensor be installed in property irrigation systems. The sensor should be of the type that recognizes rainfall and evaportion of that rainfall as well as moisture content of the soil at a reasonable depth considering the health of the root system of the grass/plantings. The better the condition of the root system the deeper that sensor can be, preventing wasteful and expensive overwatering.

Other Outside Use

Your garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours. Thousands of gallons can be lost in a very short time.

  • When washing the car, use a bucket for soapy water and use the hose only for rinsing. Running water in the driveway won’t get the car any cleaner.
  • Another water waster is using the hose to sweep away leaves. Use a rake and broom to clean up sidewalks, driveways and gutters.
Consider a Shallow Well or Rainwater Collection System
Most reports attribute between 10% and 25% of domestic water consumption in the US to landscaping and garden irrigation. Actual use can vary widely, even beyond these figures, depending on local climate and the kind of plants used. If you could get that much taken off your water bill each month, you might be willing to consider having a shallow well installed!
Well water, since it doesn’t come from the City’s supply, costs nothing. Although creating a well for human consumption can be expensive, a shallow well for watering your garden is much less so.
A second alternative is to install rain gutters and a rain collection system to use for watering your lawn.
First, let’s consider wells.
“What is a shallow well?
A hole which has been dug, bored, driven or drilled into the ground for the purpose of extracting water is a well. A well is considered to be shallow if it is less than 50 feet deep. The source of a well is an aquifer. An aquifer is an underground layer of permeable soil (such as sand or gravel) that contains water and allows the passage of water.
Aquifers are replenished as rainfall seeps down through the soil. Ground water travels through permeable soil on top of hard or impermeable layers. Shallow wells usually are only deep enough to intercept the uppermost (or most easily reached) perched water table.”
- Source: Seattle & King County Public Health

There are two main types of wells:

  1. Water table wells are those that penetrate into aquifers in which the water is not confined by an overlying impermeable layer. The level at which the soil is saturated is the water table. Pumping the well lowers the water table near it. These wells are particularly sensitive to seasonal changes and may dwindle during dry periods.
  2. Artesian wells penetrate into ground water having confining layers above and below the aquifer. Rainfall enters into the aquifer through permeable layers at high elevations causing the ground water to be under pressure at lower elevations. Because of this pressure, the water level in the well is higher than the aquifer. A well that yields water by artesian pressure at the ground surface is a "flowing" artesian well.

To drill a shallow well on Tybee Island, follow the procedure below:

  1. Contact the Zoning Department at City Hall for a permit. The fee is $25. You’ll need to show the proposed location of the well on a scale drawing of your property. Verify that the well will be on your property and not in a City right-of-way.
  2. Call for underground utility detection at (800)282-7411. The driller can also have this service performed.
  3. Position the pump above flood stage if at all possible. If your property is extremely low lying, provide at least a two foot platform.
  4. Be sure your shallow well system is in no way connected to your home! Shallow well water is for outdoor use only. Any connection into your home’s water system can be a danger to health and cause for your well to be condemned.
  5. Post signs at each and every tap served by your well, stating that the water is not potable. This includes outdoor showers.
  6. Call the Tybee Island Water and Sewer Department for an inspection (912.472.5051) to certify that you and your driller have complied with the requirements for public safety.
  7. Enjoy your FREE water!
A water collection system is simple in concept – just put a rain barrel at the bottom of the drainpipe coming off your roof gutters. However, it couldn’t be THAT easy!
First, you need to HAVE rain gutters. Then, you have to make sure you have a way to prevent leaves and debris from going into the barrel, and you need to provide a method to remove debris that may get through and settle in the bottom of the barrel. To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, you also need to cover the top to prevent these and other pests from access to the water.
Finally, you’ll need to install a drip irrigation system to distribute the rainwater. You’ll either need to have the barrel raised at least somewhat to allow the water to flow out the bottom, or you’ll need to install a pump, switch, and low-water cutoff to finish off the installation.
You can find instructions for a rain water collection system at many sites online as well as at the library, or you can hire someone to do it for you. As with a shallow well, rainwater catchments do not provide water for human consumption, and you should label your taps as such.

More Information

To learn more about water conservation, please go to the EPD Water Conservation web site at http://www.conservewatergeorgia.net/. Detailed information on the drought can be found at http://www.georgiadrought.org/.

Annual Consumer Confidence Report
You may also download PDF versions of the Consumer Confidence Report for: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 20102009, 2008, or 2006.

City of Tybee Island


Annual Water Quality Report


Is my water safe?

We are pleased to present this year's Annual Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This report is designed to provide details about where your water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to standards set by regulatory agencies. This report is a snapshot of last year's water quality. We are committed to providing you with information because informed customers are our best allies.


Do I need to take special precautions?

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Water Drinking Hotline (800-426-4791).


Where does my water come from?

Groundwater is the only source for the city of Tybee Island and pumped for the upper Floridan Aquifer.


Source water assessment and its availability

Not required for groundwater systems at this time.


Why are there contaminants in my drinking water?

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).


The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity: microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife; inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial, or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming; pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses; organic Chemical Contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems; and radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities. In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.


How can I get involved?

City hall is located at 403 Butler Avenue. City council meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm.


Results of radon monitoring

Radon is a radioactive gas that you can't see, taste, or smell. It is found throughout the U.S. Radon can move up through the ground and into a home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon can build up to high levels in all types of homes. Radon can also get into indoor air when released from tap water from showering, washing dishes, and other household activities. Compared to radon entering the home through soil, radon entering the home through tap water will in most cases be a small source of radon in indoor air. Radon is a known human carcinogen. Breathing air containing radon can lead to lung cancer. Drinking water containing radon may also cause increased risk of stomach cancer. If you are concerned about radon in your home, test the air in your home. Testing is inexpensive and easy. Fix your home if the level of radon in your air is 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) or higher. There are simple ways to fix a radon problem that aren't too costly. For additional information, call your state radon program or call EPA's Radon Hotline (800-SOS-RADON).


Additional Information for Lead

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. City of Tybee Island is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.


Water Quality Data Table

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The table below lists all of the drinking water contaminants that we detected during the calendar year of this report. Although many more contaminants were tested, only those substances listed below were found in your water. All sources of drinking water contain some naturally occurring contaminants. At low levels, these substances are generally not harmful in our drinking water. Removing all contaminants would be extremely expensive, and in most cases, would not provide increased protection of public health. A few naturally occurring minerals may actually improve the taste of drinking water and have nutritional value at low levels. Unless otherwise noted, the data presented in this table is from testing done in the calendar year of the report. The EPA or the State requires us to monitor for certain contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not vary significantly from year to year, or the system is not considered vulnerable to this type of contamination. As such, some of our data, though representative, may be more than one year old.  In this table you will find terms and abbreviations that might not be familiar to you.  To help you better understand these terms, we have provided the definitions below the table.






MCL, TT, or




















Typical Source

Disinfectants & Disinfectant By-Products

(There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants)

TTHMs [Total Trihalomethanes] (ppb)















By-product of drinking water disinfection

Chlorine (as Cl2) (ppm)















Water additive used to control microbes

Haloacetic Acids

(HAA5) (ppb)














By-product of drinking water chlorination

Inorganic Contaminants



Fluoride (ppm)






















Erosion of natural deposits; Water additive which promotes strong teeth; Discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories

Microbiological Contaminants

Total Coliform (positive samples/month)















Naturally present in the environment


Radioactive Contaminants

Radium (combined

226/228) (pCi/L)
















Erosion of natural deposits






# Samples








Exceeding AL


Typical Source

Inorganic Contaminants

Copper - action level at consumer taps (ppm)













Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits


Lead - action level at consumer taps (ppb)













Corrosion of household plumbing systems; Erosion of natural deposits


Unit Descriptions




ppm: parts per million, or milligrams per liter (mg/L)


ppb: parts per billion, or micrograms per liter (µg/L)


pCi/L: picocuries per liter (a measure of radioactivity)


positive samples/month

positive samples/month: Number of samples taken monthly that were found to be positive


NA: not applicable


ND: Not detected


NR: Monitoring not required, but recommended.


Important Drinking Water Definitions





MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.



MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.



TT: Treatment Technique: A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.



AL: Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.


Variances and Exemptions

Variances and Exemptions: State or EPA permission not to meet an MCL

or a treatment technique under certain conditions.




MRDLG: Maximum residual disinfection level goal. The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.




MRDL: Maximum residual disinfectant level. The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.


MNR: Monitored Not Regulated


MPL: State Assigned Maximum Permissible Level


For more information please contact:


Contact Name: George E. Reese


PO Box 2749

Tybee Island, GA 31328

Phone: 9124725051

Fax: 9127864432

E-Mail: greese@cityoftybee.org

Website: www.cityoftybee.org

Water Supply FAQs

How do I report a water problem, like a leak, sewer backup or drinking water quality issue?
Call the Water Department, at (912) 472-5051, if you discover this problem during normal business hours. If the problem occurs outside working hours, call the City of Tybee Island's Police Department Dispatch Desk on their non-emergency number at (912) 786-5600. They will contact the Water Department's on-call staff to begin repairs.

How do I get information about water quality?
Water quality standards for safe drinking water are set by the USEPA, GEPD, and GDNR. The water we serve you meets or exceeds all of these requirements. See our Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) that provides the results of our water testing for the past year .
If you have questions about your water quality, please call our Dept. at (912) 472-5051 or (912) 472-5053. Billing questions must be directed to ext. 110.

Why is there chlorine in the water?
City of Tybee Island adds chlorine to the water to ensure the water is free from harmful bacteria. The department has installed several chlorine pump stations throughout our service area. On average there are about 0.6 parts per million of chlorine in our water.

How do I decrease the amount of chlorine in my water (for fish tanks, plant watering, etc.)?
Fill a clean container. Leaving it slightly uncovered, allow it to stand overnight. The chlorine will evaporate. To speed up the process, warm the water. Be sure to store the dechlorinated water in the refrigerator.

Is there is lead in my water?
City of Tybee Island follows EPA regulations and guidelines for water system lead testing. Our tests indicate that, system-wide, the lead levels in City of Tybee Island water are below the EPA limits.

However, lead and/or copper from your home's plumbing can leach into your water. Lead /copper pipes are easily scratched with a house key, leaving a shiny streak. A private laboratory can test a sample of your water to test for lead and/ or copper.

For more information, see:

Is there mercury in my water?
City of Tybee Island follows EPA regulations and guidelines for water system mercury testing. Our tests indicate that, system-wide; the mercury levels in City of Tybee Island water are non-detectable at parts per billion range of detection.

Why is there fluoride in the water?
Fluoride prevents tooth decay and is essential for proper development of bones and teeth. On average there is 0.83 parts per million of fluoride in our drinking water. City of Tybee Island does not add fluoride to its water, what exists is naturally occurring and well within EPA regulation and guidelines.

What is the pH level of City of Tybee Island’s water?
The pH of our water remains in the neutral range averaging 7.23.

If my water has an odor, what should I do?
Often odors that appear to be coming from running water are coming from the drain. If it seems that your water has a “rotten egg” odor, fill a glass with water and take it to another room. If the water has no odor in the other room, then the odor is probably coming from the drain. Cleaning the drain will usually correct the problem.

Chlorine odors occur when the residual chlorine disinfectant gases (CL2) combine with gases given off by common household items. New carpets, paint, flowers, pine wreaths, upholstery, scented soaps and other household products produce gases called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). When the chlorine gas and VOCs combine, you may get a smell that does not smell like either chlorine or the source of the VOC. Some of the most common descriptions of the odors are cat urine, fuel oil or chemicals.

To reduce these odors, try putting a fan in your window to air out your home to reduce the level of VOCs or use a carbon filter to reduce the level of CL2.

One interesting contributing factor is that your hot water heater builds up contaminants that cause odors when the hot water is used. Hot water heaters need to be flushed periodically to prevent these build ups. Flushing once a year is usually sufficient and amazingly effective.

Why is my water sometimes rusty?
Rusty, yellow water comes from mineral deposits stirred up during hydrant flushing, fire-fighting, line breaks or maintenance. The local fire department lists scheduled hydrant flushing in the newspaper. Try not to use water during these times to avoid pulling deposits into your home's plumbing.

Rusty water will generally clear up within 2-3 hours after the line is repaired or hydrant closed. You will need to run your cold water for several minutes to flush the rusty water from the lines in your house. Try not to run the hot water because that can deposit rust in your hot water tank.

If your laundry gets stained by rusty water, keep it moist. Buy a rust remover and follow the directions on the package.

Why does my water look cloudy?
Cloudy or milky-looking water is usually caused by dissolved air bubbles in the water. Air bubbles are harmless and are caused by pressure changes, temperature changes, water that is too hot (above 140° F) and faucet aerators. To check for air bubbles, fill a glass container with water: if the cloudiness is caused by air bubbles, it will clear from the bottom of the container toward the top.

Why are there particles floating in my water?
Black, brown or rusty particles can be caused by minerals breaking loose during hydrant flushing, line breaks or line maintenance. Flush your lines by running the cold water for several minutes. If the water does not clear, the particles could be coming from breakthroughs in your hot water heater or filter system. Call a licensed plumber to investigate the problem.

If white or tan particles are floating on the surface of the water, the problem may be coming from your hot water heater. The plastic dip tubes in water heaters often disintegrate with pieces going through the plumbing or being trapped in faucet aerators. Call a licensed plumber to investigate the problem.

Why is there a pink or black ring in my toilet?
Bacteria, fungus and mold spores normally found in the air can cause rings in your toilet bowl. Wet surfaces provide ideal conditions, and the organisms reproduce rapidly, growing together to form a ring. The color of the ring depends on the species of bacteria, mold or fungus.

You can easily remove the rings with a toilet bowl brush and household cleaners. Close the toilet lid to reduce the number of spores and reduce the light needed for growth.

What causes pinhole leaks?
Scientists have not yet discovered why pinhole leaks occur. National experts currently think that pitting in pipes can start from many factors, including:

Tap Water

Bottled Water

Regulated by EPA

Regulated by FDA

Cannot have confirmed E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria

A certain amount of any bacteria is allowed

Filtered and/or disinfected

No federal disinfection requirements

Violation of drinking water standards is grounds for enforcement

Water in violation of standards can still be bottled and sold

Must be tested by certified labs

Testing by certified labs not required

Utilities must report test results to state and/or federal agencies

Bottlers have no reporting requirements

Water system operators must be certified

Bottled water plant operators do not have to be cert-ified

Water suppliers must issue an annual Consumer Confidence Report

Bottlers have no public right-to-know require-ments

Costs pennies a day—about $.0004 per gallon

Costs $.80 - $4.00 per gallon

Contains essential nutrients such as calcium and iron

Some bottlers filter out nutrient minerals

Residual chlorine prevents bacterial growth

No disinfectant to prevent bacterial growth as water ages

  • substandard pipe manufacturing
  • improper installation
  • improper electrical grounding
  • excess plumbing flux

Is bottled water safer than tap water?

Not necessarily. Check the bottled water label or contact the bottled water supplier for test results on their product. Under special circumstances, such as an emergency, bottled water is a good choice.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates public water systems. As shown in our Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), City of Tybee Island’s water supply meets all federal and state EPA drinking water standards. Bottled water must comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations, which must be equal to EPA standards for drinking water. Most required monitoring under the FDA regulations is not as frequent as the monitoring done on City of Tybee Island’s water.

Depending on the source of the water and the treatment process, some bottled waters may contain more or less amounts of substances than tap water. Some studies have shown that microbial growth may occur in bottled water during storage due to the lack of residual disinfectant. City of Tybee Island adds chlorine to its system to control microbial growth.

People with compromised immune systems should check the water quality test results for City of Tybee Island and the bottled water supplier, and consult their doctor before deciding which source is best for them. 

Where can I find more information?
EPA publications contain more information about drinking water and your health

Underground utilities can be a mystery to homeowners. Although a homeowner may not know much about the Sewer System, it is an essential requirement for public health and sanitation. The following frequently asked questions will help make you aware of how your sewer system works.

1.    What is a sewer tap? – A sewer tap is the physical connection point where the homeowner’s lateral connects to the city sewer line.

2.    What is a service line? – The lateral is the sewer constructed by private owners for private use on their property. In other words, the lateral serves a single user, not the community. The lateral connects your home to the city sewer. The maintenance and repair of the entire lateral line is the responsibility of the homeowner.

3.    What is municipal sewage? – Municipal sewage is sewage collected from residences, public buildings, industries and commercial establishments, such as restaurants.

4.    What is a sanitary sewer system? The sanitary sewer system consists of all public structures (pipes, lift stations, sewer lines and manholes) within the collection system and is designed to carry municipal sewage to the wastewater treatment plant. If a pipe conveys water which needs to be treated, it is a sanitary sewer.

5.    What is an outfall sewer? – An outfall sewer receives wastewater from the collection system or from the wastewater treatment plant and carries it to the point of final discharge into the Savannah River/Ocean. All sewage on Tybee is treated at the treatment plant.

6.    What happens when I request service from the Water/Sewer Department? – When you contact the Water/Sewer Department with your concerns, someone will usually be sent to investigate, within an hour. Issues will be resolved as soon as possible.

7.    Why does the City research easements on my property when handling my sewer repair problems? – City employees do not have legal authority to dispatch crews onto private property, to perform work without a legal document granting temporary or permanent access. This legal document is called an easement. The easement allows city employees or contractors to perform maintenance on a publicly owned structure within the boundaries of the easement.

8.    How are repair requests prioritized? Request are prioritized based on three criteria: public health and/or safety, environmental impact and severity of the problem requiring repair.

9.    What should a customer do when a sewage backup occurs in the home or yard? If you are experiencing a sewer problem, call the Water/Sewer Department at 912-472-5051, if between the hours of 7:30 to 4:30. Call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 912-786-5600, after hours or on weekends or holidays. The officer who answers will call the person from the Water/Sewer department who is on call.

10. Who is responsible for cleaning up sewage spills and overflows? - Spills on private property or in buildings are the responsibility of the property owner. The streets or right of ways will be cleaned by city personnel. The city maintains sewers on a regular basis, but because there is no way to control inappropriate debris from being placed into the sewer, sometimes blockages will occur.

11. Still need help? Please call the Water/Sewer Department at 912-472-5053.

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