BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Officials with Santee Cooper say some Lowcountry residents may notice a "slightly different" taste in their tap water which they attribute to a non-toxic and non-harmful organic compound just discovered in Lake Moultrie.
According to officials, customers affected include those with the Summerville Commissioners of Public Works, Berkeley County Water and Sanitation, Moncks Corner Public Works Commission and the City of Goose Creek.
"The cause is Geosmin, a non-toxic, non-harmful organic compound just discovered in Lake Moultrie," Santee Cooper officials said.
According to a press release, Geosmin can occur in surface water after a period of below-freezing temperatures.
Officials say the Santee Cooper Regional Water System has sampled water at its Lake Moultrie plant and at distribution points serving these four agencies, and test results confirmed Geosmin in concentrations of 77 to 95 parts per trillion throughout the system.
"Geosmin has an earthy smell, which can be detected in concentrations below 30 parts per trillion," officials said.
"Although some people may find the odor or taste unpleasant, Geosmin is not harmful. The water is safe to drink, and we are working to bring back its normal taste and smell as quickly as we can," said Brian Lynch, manager of water systems for Santee Cooper.
The press release states the Regional Water System has begun adding powder-activated carbon to remove Geosmin and is working closely with the Summerville, Berkeley, Moncks Corner and Goose Creek agencies to provide updates.