It wasn’t too long ago that Lake Hartwell turned green due to an algal bloom. Anyone in the area remembers the taste and smell associated with the drinking water coming from the lake during this time. Thankfully, harmful algal blooms (HABs) were never present, but that is not always the case for waterbodies this time of year.
Just last month, DHEC put out a precautionary warning:
“If you’re planning on recreating in a water body, we advise you to visually inspect the water before going in,” said Emily Bores, DHEC’s HAB Coordinator. “If you notice a foul smell or discoloration, it’s best to err on the side of caution and stay away. Remember, when in doubt, stay out.”
As algae season approaches, please be aware of any discoloration or odors within the waterbodies you frequent. Stagnant, shallow bodies of water are most vulnerable.
Learn more about HABs and how to report blooms here. Reach out to us if we can offer any assistance. If we can’t help, we will find someone who can.
At Anderson Regional, we know that treating the drinking water is first priority, but we are also working to protect the water before it reaches the intake. We refer to this as source water protection. Lake Hartwell is the source of our drinking water and we have been partnering with multiple organizations the last few years to educate the community (and ourselves), create watershed plans, and implement practices and projects that lead to increased water quality.
Environmentally, this is the right thing to do, but it also makes sense economically: the less we have to treat the water, the more affordable it can become.
Remember that what we put on the ground eventually ends up in a creek that leads to our favorite farm pond or lake body. Source water protection means more than just protecting our drinking water. It protects wildlife, our livestock, our boating leisure, and the most important ingredient in our favorite food and drinks. We all have a responsibility to take care of what we’ve been given. Source water protection is how we do it.