Okatie, SC – (June 4, 2022) – Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) is issuing a water use reduction request for their 63,000 customers in Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

Through Wednesday, customers are asked to take the following steps:

  • Postpone outdoor water use including irrigation, washing cars and filling pools,
  • Only wash full loads when cleaning laundry or dishes.

The request is necessary because several pumps are out of service after a power surge at the Authority’s water treatment plant in Okatie. Crews are making repairs and installing back up pumps and expect capacity in the system to recover by Wednesday evening.

“If customers curb their water use this weekend and into the early part of the week, it will buy our crews time to make repairs  before we start to lose pressure in the system,” said Chief of Plant Operations Brian Chemsak. “We’re working around-the-clock to resolve the issue before symptoms start to arise at people’s taps.”

Chemsak further explained that if pressure drops in the system, the first symptom would be discoloration problems and reduced water pressure. A major loss of pressure could necessitate boil water advisories, cause service interruptions and even threaten firefighter’s access to adequate flows.

Recently, the Authority has been challenged to meet growing consumer demand. The system reached a new peak for usage on May 18 when customers used 34.9 million gallons of water–at a rate faster than the system’s two water plants were able to treat water. The result was lower water pressure and some customers experienced discolored water at their taps.

BJWSA is asking customers to adjust their irrigation timers 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. Those with even-numbered addresses are asked to irrigate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No irrigation should occur on Mondays or any day between the hours of 3 AM and 9 AM.

Looking to the future, BJWSA is working to increase water production and system storage capacity. However, a $52 million project to double capacity at the Purrysburg Water Treatment Plant in Jasper County will not be complete until sometime in 2025. In the meantime, the Authority is working with professional landscapers, neighborhood associations, property management companies and other groups to implement an Irrigation Management Program which involves limiting irrigation to three alternating days a week, based on address and no watering on Mondays or between the hours of 3:00 AM and 9:00 AM.

For more information, go to www.bjwsa.org/water-use or call 843-987-9200.