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Delivering Clean Safe Water

March 18, 2016

It's All About Clean Water
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Delivering Clean Safe Water

The water delivered to your home comes from two water sources, ground water from the Middendorf Aquifer and purchased water from Charleston Water System. The Middendorf Aquifer is between 1800 and 2500 feet deep and is confined between layers of clay and sand. This means that little or nothing from the surface can contaminate it. The water is naturally clean, with little or no bacteria. There are dissolved salts, mostly chloride, fluoride, sodium and bicarbonates, which is why Reverse Osmosis (RO) is the most effective treatment for MPW to use.

Once treated, the water is 100% free of suspended matter and 90% free of dissolved salts, which means the water is very pure. However, very pure water cannot go directly into water system lines without treatment to raise the pH and make the water less aggressive to pipes and plumbing. The water from MPW's deep wells has naturally high pH and alkalinity, which reduced the aggressive nature of pure RO water.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Membranes located inside MPW's RO Plant

Reverse Osmosis is a process in which dissolved inorganic solids (such as salts) are removed from a solution (such as water). This is accomplished by household water pressure pushing the tap water through a semi permeable membrane.

MPW began purchasing drinking water from Charleston Water System (CWS) in 1997At first up to one million gallons a day (MGD) were purchased. We now purchase 5.5 MGD, with RO providing the balance of our water demand.

The water from CWS is from a surface supply - the Edisto River and/or the Bushy Park Reservoir. The treatment for surface water is very different from RO. This is because the constituents being removed from the water are suspended rather than dissolved in the water, and contain high amounts of organic matter. Although there is some degree of difference in pH, taste and odor, CWS's water meets the same high quality standards as MPW's.

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, scientists learned diseases were spreading through public water sources. Typhoid, dysentery and cholera outbreaks sickened thousands and created a need for widespread, systematic water disinfection. Scientists discovered chlorine effectively sanitized water. It was added to water supplies for the first time in 1908, making New Jersey the first state to have a standardized process for disease free water.

Over time, the federal government developed regulations for drinking water and, in 1914, the U.S. Public Health Service enacted standards to eliminate bacteria from the public water supply. However, the standards applied only to known contagious contaminants. After several revisions, in 1974 Congress enacted comprehensive water quality standards by passing the Safe Drinking Water Act. The act regulated 28 substances in the public drinking water supply. The water operators at MPW are responsible for ensuring that the drinking water you receive is of the highest quality possible, meeting or exceeding all federal and state drinking water standards.

To accomplish this, monthly water quality samples are collected by laboratory technicians from various locations throughout our distribution system. Annually, MPW collects approximately 15,000 water samples. MPW is required to perform a range of analytical tests on

MPW Commissioners, Staff and Contractors celebrate the dedication of the Water Quality Assurance Building "The Lab".

treated water samples using the most up-to-date methodology approved by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with state-of-the-art instrumentation to deliver the most accurate results.

In 2015, MPW opened a new laboratory at the Rifle Range Road Operations Center. This lab allows our staff to conduct testing in house in order comply with state and federal regulations.

MPW publishes the results from our analytical data in our monthly water quality reports to show the quality of water delivered to your tap. MPW also publishes the required Annual Consumer Confidence Report also known as the Annual Water Quality Report. Both of these reports can be found at www.mountpleasantwaterworks.com.

Treated water travels through the distribution system. This network of pipes spans across the community to reach the shower in your home, the sinks at your business and the fire hydrants in the community. The distribution system delivers a steady flow of water so you can fill a glass or put out a fire. The elaborate system that ensures clean water from the treatment facility to your home is more than just pipes in the ground. The system includes treatment plants, storage facilities, mains, valves, and meters all under the watchful eye of our water quality professionals.

From collection to testing and delivery, MPW is a proven quality water provider, proudly serving our customers, our community, and the environment. We care about water. It's what we do!

Clay Duffie
General Manager


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