CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Have you noticed your drinking water tastes like dirt? There is a reason for that.

Charleston Water System customers recently pointed out their drinking water had a dirt-like taste as the weather began to warm.

Water utility providers that use surface water, like Charleston Water System, experience seasonal changes in taste and odor. Something leaders with the utility company say typically occurs in spring when temperatures change from cool to warm.

“Charleston Water System is no different, as our primary water sources are the Bushy Park Reservoir and Edisto River,” said Mike Saia, public information officer for Charleston Water System.

Saia told that the source of that earthy – or musty – taste you may have experienced in recent days is the decomposition of blue-green algae that has died within the Bushy Park Reservoir.

“It poses no health or safety issue,” he said. “This is an aesthetic event only, and our water has been and will remain completely safe to drink.”

With some customers expressing concern, Charleston Water System said it increased the amount of powdered activated carbon and has slightly altered its water treatment process to bring in a higher percentage of raw water from the Edisto River and less from Busy Park, where the issue is rooted, according to Saia.

He believes these actions should resolve the issue for everyone by Wednesday. But noted that more sensitive customers may continue to notice the earthy taste and odor.

Customers experiencing taste or odor issues car reduce or eliminate them by:

  • Allowing it to sit for a brief period before consuming it.
  • Chilling it in the refrigerator or adding ice.
  • Using a water pitcher or filter that contains activated carbon, which is the key component in nearly all retail water filters. 

While the issue should be resolved for its entire service area this week, CWS said the water is completely safe for all uses.