MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Local officials in South Carolina are worried about a proposal by internet giant Google to draw water from a coastal aquifer to cool a server farm.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/2cNsGwz ) Google has applied to draw 1.5 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer to cool servers in Berkeley County.

Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Mark Smith calls the plan a threat to public health. The town of 80,000 draws about 3.5 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer, a reservoir of fresh water about 1,600 feet underground.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reviewing the Google application. Google issued a statement saying it will work with the community.

Smith called using the waters to cool the servers “a colossal waste of our valuable resources and is a threat to public health and safety.”

Clay Duffie, the general manager of Mount Pleasant Waterworks, said the town draws from the aquifer for most of its water, an average of 5.5 million gallons daily. Some water is purchased from the Charleston Water System which relies on surface water.

Duffie said the town buys that water, in part, to reduce pressure on the aquifer..

“Instead of pumping more and more, we started pumping less, so that we could sustain that aquifer,” he said.

The waterworks has asked state regulators to hold off on the application until Google analyzes alternatives.

“We evaluated various water options and invested in researching the impact that groundwater withdrawal would have on the community and the environment,” Google said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Data from our groundwater consultants indicate that impact to the aquifer and the community is expected to be minimal.”

The internet giant first located in Berkeley County eight years ago.


Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com

VIAThe Associated Press
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