Join our Clean Water team on a virtual tour of Anderson Regional Joint Water System’s treatment facility

March 23rd, 2022

How familiar are you with the journey your water takes from intake to tap?  

Our Clean Water team recently toured Anderson Regional Joint Water System’s (ARJWS) Hartwell Lake Filter Plant in Anderson— and we want to take you along for a behind-the-scenes virtual tour! 

Trey Burns, Sustainability Manager at ARJWS, gives UF’s Clean Water Team a tour of the Hartwell Lake Filter Plant


ARJWS draws raw water from Lake Hartwell. Water from all rivers and reservoirs can contain a variety of organisms and inorganic material that must be removed at a water treatment plant before the water is safe for drinking and other uses. The journey to clean water begins here, as water is pumped up the hill from intake to the treatment plant. 

ARJWS draws raw water from Lake Hartwell

Ozone pre-treatment 

ARJWS is unique in using ozone as a pre-treatment technique.  

Ozone is a naturally-occurring molecule. ARJWS creates it onsite by converting liquid oxygen to gas and adding an electrical charge to it. This chemical-free technique removes the taste and odor associated with algal blooms in Lake Hartwell.  

The ozone contact chamber at ARJWS

Flocculation and sedimentation 

Lime is added to balance the water’s pH level, and the coagulant alum is then added to the water. This coagulant encourages suspended organic material to form large clumps, called flocc. These flocc particles are heavier than water and, along with larger particles such as sand and silt, are allowed to settle out. This process removes over 80% of suspended matter in the water.  

This water enters the center of one of four large clarifiers and works its way out, becoming clearer and clearer before heading to filtration. 

Water enters one of four large clarifiers to remove particles and organic matter

Filtration and final steps 

This facility has 11 filters on-site. Water travels through the filters pulled by gravity, and is 99.9% clean at this point in the process. It heads to the underground clear well for final treatment and disinfection.  

Lime is once again added to balance the water’s pH level. Phosphate is added, which helps protect pipes from this facility to your home from corrosion. Chlorine eliminates any viruses or bacteria present, and a very small dose of fluoride is added. Over 200 water quality tests are conducted daily in an on-site lab.  

After passing through one of 11 of these filters, water is 99.9% clean

Drink up 

What was raw water from Lake Hartwell just 3-hours ago is now potable water. ARJWS stores water in two on-site reservoirs — each capable of containing 6 million gallons — and distributes this clean water to 14 local water utilities through a 40-mile distribution system.  

This water treatment facility provides water for 14 utilities across the Upstate


Anderson Regional Joint Water System is a partnership of rural and municipal water districts. ARJWS is a provider for 14 water utilities in the Upstate: Big Creek Water District, Broadway Water and Sewer District, City of Anderson, City of Clemson, Clemson University, Hammond Water District, Homeland Park Water District, Powdersville Water, Sandy Springs Water District, Starr-Iva Water and Sewer District, Town of Central, Town of Pendleton, Town of Williamston, and West Anderson Water District.  

This treatment facility located on the shores of Lake Hartwell was constructed in 1968. ARJWS operates with a staff of 22. Once water has completed a 3-hour treatment process, it’s distributed through a 40-mile system. The facility is maintained and operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Generators ensure the water treatment process continues, even if power is lost to other local homes and businesses. 

Improving water quality in the 3&20 Watershed

Upstate Forever has partnered with ARJWS to implement a watershed-based plan for the Three and Twenty Creek Watershed. This plan addresses potential sources of bacteria, sediment, and nutrient pollution and identifies critical areas for protection and restoration throughout the watershed. If you live within the Three and Twenty Watershed, you may qualify for cost share assistance for projects including land protection, septic tank repair/replacement, agricultural and stormwater best management practices, and riparian buffer restoration. To learn more and see if you qualify for cost share assistance, click here.

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