BJWSA: Fix to water taste, odor problem is No. 1 priority - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

BJWSA works to solve water taste, odor problem


About 60,000 people in northern Beaufort County are still dealing with taste and odor issues coming from their water. The Beaufort-Jasper Water Sewer said a chemical coming from winter algae is causing the problem.

They've taken their reservoir offline in hopes to narrowing it down.

The Beaufort Jasper Water Sewer Authority says solving the taste and odor issue is its No. 1 priority right now. They're hoping a new batch of test results will lead them closer to fixing the problem.

"Employees at the Beaufort Jasper Water Sewer Authority say a chemical compound known as "geosmin" is behind the strange taste and odor that's affecting customers in northern Beaufort County," said Chris Petry, chief operations officer at BJSWA. "I can't stand here and tell our customers that we've solved the problem, we do have a better understanding of the problem."

Identifying it is easy but figuring out where to stop is the hard part. Their first batch of comprehensive testing showed the geosmin was coming from the Chelsea Reservoir. They've taken it offline and have sent off 15 more water quality samples to see if the taste and odor issue has gotten better. 

"We've taken samples here at the end and intermediate locations and up back through the reservoir and including the reservoir," Petry said.  

They admit it's a dynamic and frustrating ordeal for them and their customers. 

"The company has been pumping in the water straight from the canal since the change," said Matthew Brady, communications manager at BJSWA. "What you're seeing right now is the water treatment process starting right here."

BJSWA continues to monitor the water quality levels from within their plant lab and assures customers that despite the issues, the water is still safe to drink.

"That's been confirmed and we're working to fix the taste and odor issue," Brady said. 
The water authority says those lab results should arrive sometime Tuesday afternoon.

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