Okatie, SC – (May 5, 2023) – Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) is issuing a water use reduction request for its 65,000 customers in Beaufort and Jasper Counties. Customers are asked to postpone landscape irrigation until at least Thursday, May 11. The availability of treated water is limited in the system because of a mechanical failure at one of the Authority’s two water treatment plants.

“A pump failure is limiting our ability to treat enough water to supply expected demand for the next several days,” said Chief of Plant Operations Brian Chemsak. “If we can convince people to suspend watering their lawns for the next several days, we believe we’ll be able to receive and install the needed equipment to return to normal operation.”

While repairs are underway, there is an increased likelihood that waterflow changes in the system could lead to the appearance of discolored water. If customers notice discolored water, BJWSA recommends letting the cold water run for a few minutes. The discoloration should clear within a few minutes. While discoloration caused by mineral deposits inside of pipes poses no known health or safety risks, it can stain laundry.

If customers in Beaufort and Jasper Counties fail to suspend irrigation over the next several days, the two-county system may begin to lose pressure and that can lead to bigger problems. As pressure drops, the first symptom would be widespread discoloration problems and reduced water pressure at customer taps. A major loss of pressure could necessitate boil water advisories, cause service interruptions and even threaten firefighter access to adequate flows.

Even once the current situation is resolved, customers are asked to follow BJWSA’s Irrigation Management Plan. The plan involves adjusting irrigation timers to water only three days per week, on a rotating schedule. Customers with odd-numbered addresses are asked to irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Those with even-numbered addresses are asked to irrigate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No irrigation should occur on Mondays or any day between the hours of 3 AM and 9 AM when water usage traditionally is at its highest.

Looking to the future, in addition to the current equipment restoration, BJWSA plans to increase water production and system storage capacity. However, a $52 million project to double capacity at the Purrysburg Water Treatment Plant in Jasper County will not be complete until sometime in 2025.

For more information, go to www.bjwsa.org/water-use or call 843-987-9200.