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Park playground closed for repairs

The playground at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort will be closed this week for repairs, but is anticipated to reopen in time for the weekend, Beaufort leaders said.

The rubber matting material designed to make for softer landings for children is cracking and breaking apart in chunks, compromising the effectiveness of the fall zones, said Isiah Smalls, director of public works and facilities management for the city of Beaufort.

“This is a safety issue. We are working with our City Parks crews and The Greenery to remove the defective rubberized matting, and we’ll replace it with a special mulch that should be more effective,” Smalls said.

The new material is an engineered hardwood mulch that costs about $2,500 per 20 cubic yard truckload.  The city will use about 40 cubic yards of mulch costing about $5,000, Smalls said. The warranty of the rubberized surface has expired, he said.

The park will be closed through Friday, Feb. 21 for the work.

BJWSA eliminates taste and odor in its tap water 

Water leaving Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority’s (BJWSA) Chelsea water treatment plant is now free from “earthy” taste and odor. Test results showed that a rare winter algae bloom in the reservoir produced an organic compound, geosmin, that caused the taste and odor. The reservoir was taken offline two weeks ago once it was determined to be the geosmin source. Water produced at the Chelsea plant then began returning to normal. BJWSA completed its distribution system flushing in northern Beaufort County last week, and residents should now have drinking water free from the taste and odor. Recent reservoir tests indicate continued significant water quality improvement, and BJWSA is working to place the reservoir back online.

Ed Saxon, BJWSA’s General Manager, said “We are working with our consultant to determine the means and methods needed to prevent these types of events in the future.”

BJWSA hired Hazen and Sawyer to study its source water conveyance system and find solutions for taste and odor issues.

Sheriff’s Office warns about phone scam 

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is alerting residents of a phone scam that has recently resurfaced in our area.

The Sheriff’s Office has fielded several reports from citizens concerned over phone calls they have received from subject(s) identifying themselves as Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies. In these calls, the subject reportedly attempts to solicit money from the victims, threatening legal action if the victims refuse to comply.

Victims have reported similar encounters: the caller informs them that they owe a fine for failure to appear for jury duty. The victim is told they must pay a fine, or risk being arrested. The fine amounts vary, as do the names of the deputy the caller claims to be. The victim is usually instructed to purchase a Green Dot card from Wal-Mart, loaded with the amount of the “fine.”

While it is common for deputies to make contact with citizens by phone for a number of reasons, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office does not solicit any financial information via phone. Anyone receiving a call of this nature is encouraged to refrain from completing any transaction and to contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately.