Water plant electrical outage: customers asked to pause irrigation and check for discoloration

Tuesday night at 9 p.m. the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority (BJSWA) issued a water use reduction request for the 65,000 customers it serves in the two counties. This mandate was issued after an electrical failure at a treatment plant resulted in a reduced amount of available treated water for customers.

The request will remain in place until Thursday, June 8 at the earliest, according to a statement released by the BJSWA. One of the authority’s requests is for customers to postpone residential landscape irrigation until further notice.

The treated water shortage stems from an electrical failure at the Purrysburg plant in Jasper County. “An electrical system failure has limited our ability to treat water,” said Chief of Plant Operations Brian Chemsak. “As a result, we are asking people to suspend watering their lawns during this time.”

Pamela Flasch, Director of Public Affairs for BJWSA. said as of Wednesday morning everything is running normally but the plant will need time to recover from the the loss in production.

According to the press release, because of the limited treated water, BJWSA customers are more likely to see discolored water. If that is experienced, BJWSA recommends letting cold water run for a few minutes, which should clear the discoloration. The release added, discolored water poses no known health or safety risks but may stain laundry.

Flash said, there is not a boil water advisory in place and the issue will not affect restaurants.

Even after the reduction request has passed, BJWSA’s irrigation management plan asks customers to water only three days per week on a rotating schedule. Customers with odd-numbered addresses are asked to irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Customers with even-numbered addresses on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No irrigation should occur on Mondays or between the hours of 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. when BJWSA says water usage is traditionally at its highest.