Edisto Beach begins efforts to improve water quality | News | The Press and Standard

by | August 3, 2017 5:00 pm

Last Updated: August 2, 2017 at 11:28 am

Edisto Beach’s Mayor Jane Darby and Town Administrator Iris Hill came to Walterboro on June 25 to be on hand as Colleton County Council joined the town in taking another step towards improving the quality and quantity of the town’s water supply.
County Council gave a first reading to an ordinance that will see the county provide Edisto Beach an easement for county-owned property at 3002 Lee Street.
The easement will enable Edisto Beach to install a new high-capacity well on the property.
The installation of the new well is part of a wide-ranging plan to improve the town’s water system, a plan that includes installing a reverse osmosis water treatment system to improve the water quality.
Prior to the council session, Mayor Darby said the plan also includes moves to improve the existing water system infrastructure.
Hill said those infrastructure improvements include the new well to be installed on Lee Street and the drilling of a second high-capacity well.
The town currently operates six wells. Hill said one of those wells has been underperforming and will be abandoned under the plan. Two other existing wells would be removed from day-to-day operation and be used as backups.
Three existing wells will be joined by the two new wells to supply the town’s water needs. Water quantity will be improved by the addition of the high-capacity wells.
Hill said the system that monitors the wells is antiquated and the town has difficulty finding replacement parts. It will be replaced by a new monitoring system.
The reverse osmosis treatment system currently in design will also improve water quality. A number of South Carolina coastal communities are successfully using reverse osmosis water treatment systems to meet the potable water needs of their residents.
The new treatment system will be installed on two town-owned lots adjacent to the Edisto Beach town hall.
In addition to a complex design phase being handled by the engineering firm of Wharton-Smith, Hill added, the town has to complete an exhaustive permitting process before work can begin on the new treatment system.
Last month, the town issued revenue bonds totaling $7.5 million to cover the cost of the improvements. Revenue from the water service will pay the principal and interest on the bonds.
Hill said that a rate hike is being implemented to cover the revenue bonds. She said she was unsure if improving the water quality and quantity will translate into an increase in water usage and additional revenue.

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