Tank washout, hydrant flush should eliminate bad taste in Williamston water

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By David Meade

The Town of Williamston will be flushing hydrants and draining the tank on Virginia Drive in an effort to clear up lingering effects of a foul odor and taste that has been present in the town’s water for about two months.

The town has contracted with Utility Services Group to do a complete washout and sterilization of the town’s water supply tank, according to town Utilities Director David Rogers.

Rogers said the town’s water supply will not be interrupted during the process.

According to Rogers, the Virginia Drive tank is currently being bypassed and the town’s water supply is being fed directly from Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS) lines.

The water problems for the ARJWS and their member system began in June.

According to a spokesperson with ARJWS, the problem is blue-green algae in Lake Hartwell, where the water system pulls water that supplies 15 water systems in Anderson and Pickens Counties.

The algae are caused by a long drought the area experienced followed by a period of heavy rainfall.

The foul odor and taste that water customers are experiencing is being caused by two naturally occurring compounds. When algae bloom, those compounds create the odor.

According to officials, the compounds are very difficult to remove through conventional water treatment but did not pose a health threat.

ARJWS officials say they have elimnated the problem on their end, however some of the outlying systems are still experiencing lingering problems.

Rogers said he believes the problem for Williamston water customers is “on the downside” and will be corrected and back to normal after the tank is cleaned and hydrants flushed.

Hydrant flushing will begin August 4 and take place over a period of two weeks, he said.