Local

Homeowners in Lancaster County say tap water has odor, strange taste

LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. — Some Lancaster County homeowners claim their tap water has had a strange taste and odor for about three weeks now.

The water looks normal, but neighbors say it tastes and smells weird. The Lancaster County Water and Sewer District is calling it an aesthetic issue.

One woman told Channel 9′s Almiya White she started buying cases of water because she says the taste is unbearable.

“It tastes horrible,” Susan Danna said.

Danna said she hasn’t been able to drink the tap water inside of her Lancaster County home.

“About three weeks ago, I started to notice that the water was tasting kind of weird,” she said.

“For me, it’s a combination of dirt and chemicals,” she described.

Danna said the strange taste forced her to buy cases of water to drink and cook with.

“So that’s another issue from the cost, paying for water that I can’t use and buying water. So it’s a lose-lose for consumers,” she said.

Danna said Lancaster County Water and Sewer acknowledged the unusual taste and tested her water. She said they told her the water was safe and said the odd taste should go away in a week.

“It’s been over three weeks,” she said.

There was no change so she reached out to Channel 9.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, “the seasonal turnover in the raw water reservoir caused the recent taste and odor concern,” adding “the drinking water carbon treatment system needed repair.”

The Lancaster County Water and Sewer District released a statement saying, “these are aesthetic issues not related to water safety.” The department said they’ve already implemented water treatment modifications to help return the taste and order of water to normal.

Danna said once things are back to normal, she’ll feel comfortable drinking the tap water again.

“I’d like the water to be drinkable and be reassured that it’s safe,” she said.

DHEC said the carbon treatment system has been repaired. Lancaster County Water and Sewer District said it usually takes two weeks for the adjustment to be fully effective. For areas still experiencing issues, it could take a few additional days to work throughout the system.

Read the full statements from the Lancaster County Water and Sewer District and DHEC below.

Lancaster County Water and Sewer District:

“The temporary taste and odor issues experienced by some LCWSD customers are related to changes in the untreated water from the Catawba River and our 92-acre reservoir before it is treated at the Catawba River Water Treatment Plant.

“It is important to note that our treated water is safe to drink, and it has always met or exceeded state and federal standards during this issue. The safety of our drinking water is confirmed by a water quality testing regimen conducted in full accordance with state regulations with samples taken at the water plant and throughout our water distribution system.

“We understand the concerns of some of our customers, but we would like to assure them these are aesthetic issues not related to water safety.

“Taste and odor issues can be common across the Southeast, including South Carolina. There are multiple potential causes for the issues including warm weather, higher levels of iron and manganese, and impacts from non-toxic algal blooms. The existence of one or more of these factors can cause the water to have a musty or earthy taste and odor, which some people are more sensitive to than others. Our area has experienced warm weather, dry conditions, and seasonal changes and we are continually conducting testing to confirm other potential causes.

“Two weeks ago, LCWSD first implemented water treatment modifications to help return the taste and odor of the water to normal. When conditions require an adjustment to the treatment process, it can take up to two weeks for the adjustment to be fully effective throughout our entire system.

“Some areas have already returned to normal, however, it may take a few additional days for our adjustment to work throughout our system. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.

“There are ways an affected customer can reduce their temporary taste and odor issues. Chilling the water and/or adding lemon can help, as well as the use of a properly maintained carbon filter like a Brita pitcher or faucet filter. There is no need to purchase bottled water for safety.

“We greatly appreciate our customers’ understanding and patience as we continue addressing the issue.”

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control:

“DHEC has been in contact with the drinking water system. Seasonal turnover in the raw water reservoir has caused the recent taste and odor concerns. During this turnover time, the drinking water carbon treatment system needed repair and was not effectively treating the taste and odor issues. The carbon treatment system has been repaired and the taste and odor issues are being addressed. The water system took coliform samples which came back negative. They are also testing for indications of an algal bloom, but we have not received those results yet. Everything that is contributing to the taste and odor issues are believed to be naturally occurring and should not be considered to be harmful to health.”

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte Water reverses developer’s plan to cut off water for some of Hidden Valley)



Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV