Winnsboro addresses water quality issues

WINNSBORO – After weeks of questions regarding the quality of its water, the Town of Winnsboro has posted two public notices about its drinking water to its Facebook page. Below is the most recent update from May 25, 2023.

Update on Taste and Odor Issue | May 25, 2023

The Town of Winnsboro’s Water Treatment Plant gets its raw water from the Broad River, which is experiencing unprecedented levels of geosmin. Although we cannot pinpoint the exact reason for this, we do know that algae, which produces geosmin, thrives in hot temperatures, low water levels, and still or slow-moving water. We have experienced all three in recent months on the Broad River above our plant intake.

The Town of Winnsboro is not alone. Other municipalities that draw water from the Broad_ have seen similar issues. We sample source water for geosmin routinely and usually it is well under 5-parts per trillion. However, over the last two months, it has spiked dramatically. It is a rarity that we see levels approaching 25 parts per trillion in water from the Broad River; however, the current levels are much higher.

While the taste and odor from geosmin is harmless, we understand it is a nuisance for our customers and we are doing everything we can to eliminate it. We continue to add activated carbon, which acts like a sponge, in the treatment process. We are also cleaning the elevated storage tanks and flushing our water distribution system. In addition, we have taken steps to add a chemical feed on the source water supply line that will allow us to directly apply copper sulfate in order to kill the algae. Copper sulfate is a chemical commonly used for this purpose, and our plans have been reviewed and approved by SCDHEC prior to implementation. We have been in constant communication and consultation with SCDHEC concerning this situation. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the issue.

Important Information about Your Drinking Water | May 17, 2023

The Winnsboro water system is experiencing taste and odor issues in the drinking water.

The Town apologizes for the inconvenience and thanks you for your patience as we work through these taste and odor issues. As our customers, you have the right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct this situation.

Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures several weeks ago, odor and taste changes became apparent. The Town is still working to locate the exact source of the issue and is working closely with SCDHEC to resolve the problem.

What is being done?

Currently, the Town has increased the activated carbon and introduced copper sulfate that should remove the taste and odor from the drinking water. We are also closely monitoring the reservoirs, and in addition we will be flushing all storage tanks, as well as cleaning the interior of those tanks.

Health Effects

Although the water does have an earthy smell, it is completely safe to drink and shower with. We test the drinking water every 2 hours daily and we ship samples weekly for any bacteria and microbial contaminants to a water quality testing laboratory for verification that it meets all SCDHEC drinking water quality standards.

For more information, please call: Jeff Cisney, Water Treatment Plant Director at (803)815-3020The Town of Winnsboro’s Water Department continues its efforts to address the taste and odor issues that are affecting customers served by its Water Plant. The musty taste and odor is harmless. It is caused by geosmin, which is produced from algae in water and is naturally occurring in the environment. It is what gives dirt and certain vegetables like beets their odor.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]