Recently I saw a post on one of the local Hilton Head Island-Bluffton social media sites. The new resident post was a question regarding the origin, taste and quality of the tap water in the area. The number of responses was overwhelming, and the negative response regarding the taste of the water was almost unanimous.

As a water treatment expert, I read each response with tremendous interest in what locals had to say about their tap water. I was also interested in the comments regarding what the source of their tap water might be.

Many also responded regarding what they do for their drinking water. Bottled water, refrigerator filters, faucet mount filters, filtered pitchers and reverse osmosis drinking water were the many options mentioned. Many also said their pets would not drink the tap water and used the filtered water or bottled water as well.

On Hilton Head Island, three public service districts (PSDs) supply residential drinking water from multiple sources. Well water comes from the North Floridan Aquifer, surface water from the Savannah River (BJWA), and reverse osmosis plants use water from Middle Floridan or Cretaceous Aquifers with some stored in aquifer storage and recovery wells.

Beaufort-Jasper Water Authority supplies tap water for Bluffton and other off-island residents, with the bulk of the supply coming from the Savannah River.

Local PSD annual tap water quality test results are public record, and are posted on your local PSD’s website; we recommend reading this report. We also recommend looking up your tap water supply on EWG’s National Tap Water Database at

Regardless of your tap water source, it is recommended to have your tap water tested at your faucet to ensure you always know what is in it. When choosing a filter for your home, make sure the filter is certified to remove any contaminants found in your tap water.

Carbon refrigerator filters, faucet mount filters or filtered pitchers are affordable and reduce many common water contaminants. However, a reverse osmosis filter provides triple-filtered water and removes contaminants that carbon filters can’t, like sodium, fluoride and pharmaceuticals.

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

Chris Lane is the owner of Culligan Water Conditioning of the Lowcountry, serving Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties.