Town residents waiting for brown water to clear - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Town residents waiting for brown water to clear

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"It's kind of a brownish yellow, it's pretty standard," said Pastor Rick Murphy, who isn't touching what's coming out of the taps in Winnsboro.

"Yeah, I wouldn't drink that. I can look at it myself and judge."

Murphy runs this church outreach center and says the 80 or so kids that gather there every few months are now exclusively on soda or bottled water. 

"We don't use the water here at all," he said.

"I would say it's been at least 3 or 4 weeks now," said Bo Smith, who rents properties in and around Winnsboro. His tenants are complaining and so is his wife.

"My wife told me last night, 'Bo, you're gonna' have to get new sheets.' I got brown spots all over my sheets from the water," he said.

Winnsboro's assistant water supervisor, Otis Williams, says the color is called by an unusually high level of manganese, a common chemical element found in water and soil.

Williams said Tuesday they haven't seen levels of Manganese this high in at least 20 years, and that it likely caused by this reservoir flipping, cooler water sinking to the bottom and stirring up minerals.

"We're just trying to make the best of a bad situation in hopes the town will get it cleared up as soon as possible," said Smith.

Williams says the town is working on it. They've brought in pumps and special chemicals to help get the levels back under control. DHEC is watching but says there is no health risk.

Current reservoir readings are good, the city says, but that the yellow water might linger for a few days as it gets flushed from the system.

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