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Common Issues

Water Quality Issues

Changes in water taste, smell, or color may be caused by a variety of factors, including natural changes in our source water, nearby construction activity, fire hydrant testing or flushing, and plumbing problems.

Discolored water

Mineral deposits can accumulate inside of some water mains. Most of the time this isn't a problem, but changes in water pressure resulting from construction activity or the use of fire hydrants can cause these deposits to break loose and dissolve in the water, resulting in discoloration. In many cases, our crews can eliminate most of the discolored water by opening nearby fire hydrants to flush the discolored water from the pipe. However, if you experience discolored water, let your faucet run until the water appears clear. If the problem persists, contact us by calling 843-884-9626.

Rotten egg odor

A rotten egg odor is typically caused by one of three things in your home’s plumbing system: Sulfur-producing bacteria in your water heater, a dried up S-trap in an unused sink, or decaying food in a kitchen sink disposal. If you only notice the odor when you use hot or warm water, it’s probably your water heater. Consult the owner’s manual for instructions on how to flush it. If the problem occurs in an unused bathroom, turn on the tap to fill the S-trap. If the odor is in the kitchen only, try cleaning the drain disposal.

Pink or black growth on fixtures

Pink staining and black growth are both are caused by airborne microorganisms that thrive in warm, moist areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms—not by anything in the water. Some people observe a black gunk on their faucets and in toilets. This is a type of mold that grows rapidly in dark, humid places, producing a black string-like material that can break loose and hang from faucets. Pink film that typically appears around drains is caused by airborne bacteria that also thrive in moist areas, such as sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. The best way to combat both is frequent cleaning with a bleach solution. Make sure you have proper ventilation in bathrooms, and repair dripping faucets to keep the area around drains dry.

Earthy-musty taste and smell

In the Spring and sometimes in the Fall, our tap water may develop what's most often described as an "earthy" or "musty" taste and smell. This is caused by natural changes in our source water. It is temporary and harmless. It's caused by blue-green algae found in one of our water sources. Algae produces two harmless compounds, MIB and Geosmin, which have a distinctive earthy-musty taste and odor. (Geosmin is found in beets—it gives beets their earthy flavor.) To minimize the taste, try refrigerating a pitcher of tap water. Taste is less noticeable in cold water. To report a taste and odor concern, e-mail us or call 843-884-9626.

Lead

Lead is a soft, malleable metal that was used in everything from gasoline to water pipes before its health effects forced the federal government to limit its use in the 1980s.

How does lead get into drinking water? Lead does not occur naturally in water. It comes from lead pipes or plumbing materials. Water that is corrosive will leach the lead from the pipes. Although lead materials have been banned, homes built before 1986 may still have lead components in their private plumbing system.

Is lead regulated? Yes, the US EPA regulates lead via the Lead and Copper Rule. The rule requires utilities to test tap water from a sampling of homes that have lead plumbing. Lead levels must be below 15 parts per billion (ppb) for 90% of the samples tested.  Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW) takes its responsibility to protect customers from lead exposure seriously. 

MPW's monitoring is conducted in accordance with state and federal regulatory requirements and guidance.  As required, MPW conducts lead and copper testing every three years, sampling throughout the entire distribution system.  Water is collected and sent to a third party lab chosen by SCDHEC for testing.  Results are first reviewed by SCDHEC and then passed on to MPW. 

MPW monitors the corrosivity of our water to ensure it is not corrosive and does not leach lead into the water when it sits in the pipes. The last testing was conducted in 2014 and MPW’s results were 0, no detection in all the samples collected.  The Annual Water Quality Report, published every year in June, highlights a summary of the testing results. 

Older parts of Mount Pleasant Waterworks distribution system did have some lead pipes from the main to the customer’s water meter. In the 1980’s MPW removed the lead pipes and copper pipes that may have had lead solder joints. 

Some customers living in homes constructed prior to 1986 may have lead pipes or copper pipes with lead joints on their side of the water meter.  Those customers should have their water tested and speak with a plumber about removing material with lead components.

If you are interested in having your water tested, MPW can assist.  Once the sample is collected, MPW will send your sample to a certified laboratory for testing.  MPW will also help you analyze your results. Lead testing is free. You can contact MPW’s Laboratory Director, Jestine Deepe (843-884-9626) regarding this process if you have additional questions.

 

 

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