Add dead fish to the Anderson Regional Joint Water System’s list of long-running problems with foul-tasting, smelly Hartwell Lake water.
The manager of the water system and researchers insist the latest treatment should end the months, some say more than a year, of customer complaints.
An algaecide treatment is getting the blame for killing shad and small baitfish in the lake around the system’s water intake on Sept. 8. Researchers overseeing the treatment said the water is “safe for human and wildlife exposure” and say they are hopeful treatments will be effective.
In the meantime, some restaurant owners have added filter systems and many system customers are buying bottled water. The system’s service area includes 200,000 people in Anderson and Pickens counties.
“People are afraid to drink it,” said an Anderson grocer who has seen his bottled water sales increase by more than 35%.
“If it’s killing the fish, why would you want to drink it?” asked Randall Maxwell, manager of the Quality Foods store on S.C. Highway 28 Bypass. “It’s kind of scary actually … It tastes just like dirt. The ice tastes like dirt.”
For some restaurant owners, the economic impact includes buying expensive filters and pouring out iced tea that gets handed back.
Anderson resident Tom Charles said that since May he’s been “buying water to drink. We are buying water to make iced tea. We are buying water to make lemonade.”
“It got better since the problem last year, and all of a sudden the quality of the water deteriorated very quickly to the point where it not only tasted bad, but it smelled bad,” Charles said. “They kept saying they are trying to blow out the lines, they are trying to do this and they are trying to do that … and yet, here we are. It is September, and things have not improved.”
Charles said he and his wife “eat out a fair amount and we stopped ordering drinks if we are here in Anderson. If we go to Greenville, we order tea, we order sodas, whatever. But if we’re in Anderson we don’t and that’s got to be killing the restaurants. Anything that is out of the tap, even soft drinks depending on where it is, have an off-taste.”
Photo caption: Randall Maxwell, manager of the Quality Foods store on S.C. Highway 28 Bypass, said he has seen his bottled water sales increase by more than 35%. (Photo by Bill Poovey)
View original article at: Algae reeks havoc on Hartwell Lake