The Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority has begun a 14-mile water line that will extend service to about 900 Hardeeville-area residents currently using well water.
The $14 million project, the utility's largest ever, will pump treated Savannah River water through a 36-inch pipe to the Levy, Limehouse and Bellinger Hill neighborhoods in Jasper County.
The public well system currently used by many of the residents taps into the Upper Floridan Aquifer, which is being adversely affected by saltwater intrusion, utility spokesman Matthew Brady said.
Residents shouldn't notice a big difference in their water, Brady said.
"Taste and odor are very personal things. Anytime you go from well to surface water, some folks may notice it, but in general it's a very minimal difference," he said.
The new water line has been planned for several years and should be finished in about a year. Contractors have already installed about 4,100 feet of pipe.
"This project is part of how we're ... planning for the future", utility general manager Ken Griffin said in a statement. "Not only will it help us ensure adequate capacity for this region of our service area, but it further reduces any reliance on the Upper Floridan Aquifer as a water supply."
The new water line will begin near the utility's Purrysburg Water Treatment Plant, close to the Savannah River, and extend through the Levy-Limehouse-Bellinger Hill area. It will connect to an existing system between Pritchardville and greater Bluffton and serve as a backup for those customers.