Anderson Regional Joint Water System has maintained an aggressive water quality monitoring program of both Lake Hartwell source water and the water treated at its Lake Hartwell Water Treatment Plant over the spring and summer.
The monitoring has shown numerous algae blooms during which taste and odor causing algae counts increase at near exponential rates then drop dramatically. While the treated water has at all times met the standards for safe consumption, maintaining aesthetic quality has been an ongoing challenge.
Earlier, Anderson Regional Water placed an activated carbon treatment process into service to help alleviate the seasonal taste and odor. The new treatment process introduces powdered activated carbon, or PAC, into the raw water feed to the water treatment plant.
The high porosity PAC adsorbs total organic carbon, including geosmin and MIB which have caused the recent taste and odor episode. At present, PAC doses are moderately high and are achieving some impact.
In its ongoing efforts to address the taste and odor issues, Anderson Regional Water has engaged Clemson University and Synterra Corporation to conduct research into additional treatment options.
After analyzing the existing measures that are in place and conducting initial field investigations, it was determined a wellplanned and precise application of algaecides is the best near-term option.
“The goal of the pilot treatment is to determine the efficacy and cost effectiveness of in-lake remediation of MIB and geosmin to levels that are treatable with the enhanced water treatment processes at the Lake Hartwell Plant,” said ARJWS Director Scott Willett.
According to Willett, the Board of Commissioners has authorized a pilot treatment of the source water. A contract for treatment has been issued and required permits have been obtained. The pilot treatment program will focus on the immediate area surrounding the System’s raw water intake. Utilizing materials approved by the American National Standards Institute/National Sanitation Foundation for use in drinking water and the U.S. EPA, the taste and odor causing algae types will be targeted. The materials react with the algae to destroy the cell wall, eliminating the source and facilitating natural degradation of the geosmin and MIB.
“There have been numerous applications of these materials around the US, successfully removing taste and odor causing organisms while maintaining the integrity of valuable water resources for drinking, recreation, and ecological function,” Willett said.
The pilot treatment program will be under the guidance and direction of researchers from Clemson University headed by Dr. John Rodgers. Dr. Rodgers is a noted national expert on environmentally sound controls of aquatic nuisance vegetation.
According to Willett, the materials used in the treatment have been shown to have no measureable adverse effects on fisheries. There are no post-application restrictions on water use.
Officials from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the SC Department of Natural Resources have also been invited to monitor the pilot treatment to ensure compliance with all federal and state regulations.
“Anderson Regional Water remains committed to providing a plentiful, safe and affordable water supply for our community,” Willett said.