Google Moves In And Wants To Pump 1.5 Million Gallons Of Water Per Day – Sarah McCammon May 8, 2017 5:00 AM ET

Google wants to pump 1.5 million gallons of water per day to cool servers at its data center in Berkeley County, S.C. “It’s great to have Google in this region,” conservationist Emily Cedzo said. “So by no means are we going after Google … Our concern, primarily, is the source of that water.” | Bruce Smith/AP

When three sacred staples of the South weren’t safe from the cloudy, salty water in his town, Clay Duffie knew there was a problem.

“It’d kill your azaleas if you irrigated with it; your grits would come out in a big clump, instead of creamy like they should,” Duffie said.

Even the sweet tea.

“Your tea would come out all cloudy,” Duffie said. “Oh man, it was bad news.”

Duffie, the general manager of Mount Pleasant Waterworks, said before his agency outside Charleston began purifying the water in the early 1990s, the water was also soft; you’d come out of the shower and still feel dirty, he recalled.

Today, Duffie has a new concern — a request by Google for permission from South Carolina regulators to pump more groundwater than they’re already entitled to for their data center in nearby Berkeley County.

“We’ve invested a lot in making sure the groundwater quality that we treat and send to the customers is of high quality. We also want to protect the quantity side of that,” Duffie said.

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