SC residents line up for water donations despite water being deemed safe by city, state officials
DENMARK, SC (WIS) - Several Denmark, SC residents stood in a long line Friday morning, and it was not for Black Friday deals.
The long line was for bottled water community activists handed out because of the conditions of the city’s water. Thankful Denmark residents were given the water, donated by Walmart locations in Orangeburg and Barnwell in an event organized by community activists.
In the last week, two separate lawsuits have been filed against the City of Denmark for their use of the chemical HaloSan. The first claims HaloSan has not approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - and that the city knew that and used it anyway. The city started using HaloSan in 2008.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, however, has approved the use of the chemical, which has been alleged to cause "burning, rash, itching, skin discoloration/redness, blistering, and allergic-type reactions,” making the water unusable.
The second lawsuit was also filed against both the City of Denmark and the Denmark Public Water System. There, the plaintiffs cite excessive fees and the “poisoned” water among a series of reasons for the litigation.
Scientists traveled to Denmark in early 2018 to study the water, leading them to find the water “was indeed very toxic.”
Denmark Mayor Gerald E. Wright told WIS that the water is safe, despite closing the Cox Mill Well in August.
"I can give them assurance that the quality of water that we distribute to our customers is of a high quality. It’s in good shape,” Wright said on Nov. 20.
The well was being treated for an iron bacteria by using HaloSan, according to SC DHEC.
""DHEC recognizes that citizens have questions and concerns about the safety of the City of Denmark’s water supply, including the use of HaloSan in one well," SC DHEC said in a statement to WIS. “In August, the City of Denmark notified DHEC that the well where HaloSan had been used was removed from service. The City’s current drinking water supply comes from three other wells where HaloSan was not and is not used.”
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