Where our water comes from and why that source matters

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Here in the beautiful Lowcountry, we enjoy water everywhere. We have the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, rivers, marshes, lagoons, tidal creeks and, of course, our tap water.

Some homeowners ask, "Where does our tap water come from?"

On Hilton Head Island, there are three public service districts (PSD's) that supply our drinking water from multiple sources. Well water comes from the North Floridan Aquifer, surface water from the Savannah River (BJWSA), and reverse osmosis plants, which uses water from Middle Floridan or Cretaceous Aquifers, with some stored in aquifer storage and recovery wells.

To add to the mystery, your tap water source and quality can vary from time of year, based on water consumption and the many sources needed to supply increased demand during high irrigation and tourist season.

PSD annual tap water quality test results are public record and are posted on your local PSD's website. It is recommended that consumers read this report, and look up your tap water supply on the nonprofit Environmental Working Group's (EWG) National Tap Water Database at ewg.org/tapwater.

Regardless of your tap water source, you might consider having it tested to ensure your family has high quality, safe water. And when choosing a filter for your home, make sure the filter is certified to remove any contaminants found in your tap water.

Carbon filters (whether pitchers, tap-mounted or in the refrigerator) are affordable and reduce many common water contaminants. However, a reverse osmosis filter removes contaminants that carbon filters can't, such as sodium, fluoride and pharmaceuticals.

For more information on how you can safeguard your home's water supply, visit the Water Quality Association at wqa.org, or call a local water treatment professional.

Chris Lane is owner of Culligan Water Conditioning of the Low Country, serving Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties. culliganhhi.com

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