HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (August 25, 2015) – Hilton Head Public Service District (PSD) has been forced to take another well out of production due to saltwater intrusion into the fresh water Upper Floridan Aquifer. The well is located along Squire Pope Road. There will be no interruption in customers’ water service as a result of the shut-down.
Salt levels in the Squire Pope Well have exceeded the standard for drinking water production. The PSD has lost the full use of seven water production wells as a result of saltwater intrusion since 2000. The utility expects to lose four more wells to the intrusion by the year 2024. All but one of the PSD’s remaining Upper Floridan wells are now used only to meet peak demands in the summer months.
Studies show that the saltwater intrusion is being caused by over-pumping of the aquifer in the Savannah, Ga., area, and also is occurring naturally. The intrusion is advancing at about 400 feet a year from Port Royal Sound through the PSD’s service area in the north- and mid-islands parts of Hilton Head Island. The PSD launched its Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Facility in 2009 to replace water supply lost to the intrusion. In 2011, it built the island’s first-ever Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) Facility, which stores treated water underground in the winter months of lower demand and a less expensive wholesale water rate, and then withdraws and retreats the water in the summer months of peak demand and a higher wholesale rate.
Earlier this year, the PSD expanded the capacity of its Reverse Osmosis Facility to 4 million gallons of water a day. The utility experiences an average demand between 5 and 6 million gallons a day and a peak demand between 8 and 9 million gallons a day in the summer months. The Reverse Osmosis and ASR facilities, purchased wholesale water, and Upper Floridan well water comprise the PSD’s water supply.