DHEC Orders Water Upgrades

WINNSBORO – Town Council Tuesday night gave the OK for matching funds for a nearly $500,000 potential grant to cover upgrades to the Town’s water treatment plant, upgrades the Town must make under orders from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

“We have two consent orders from DHEC with regard to chlorine dioxide and total organic carbon, which we have to address,” Town Manager Don Wood told Council. “Connie (Shackelford, the Town’s grants writer) is completing an application to the Rural Infrastructure Authority to get grant funding for these two projects. The match total for both projects is $48,700, and that would be a capital expenditure also. And this doesn’t guarantee we’re going to get it; we’re just asking permission to provide the match if we do get the grant.”

Wood said the $48,700 represented 10 percent of the grant, plus an addition $2,000 because the Town’s request exceeded the total maximum of the grant.

According to documents Wood provided to The Voice, the water treatment plant is under a DHEC consent order because of a failure to meet total organic carbon (TOC) minimum removal.

“TOC is a measure of the naturally occurring organic material found in raw waters,” the documents state. “The town’s source waters are particularly susceptible to this.”

TOC and chlorine disinfection can result in the formation of byproducts, such as trihalomethanes, which is also a regulated substance in drinking water, according to the documents.

Winnsboro currently uses coagulation to reduce TOC in drinking water, but is looking to upgrade to utilizing chlorine dioxide and powdered activated carbon (PAC) to comply with the consent order.

Council also approved $6,500 for the replacement of panels on sewer lift station number 11 at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Wood said the expenditure was in the 2015-2016 budget.

Unbudgeted expenditures raised concerns from one citizen, who chided Council during the public comment portion of the meeting for a vote last month to spend nearly $18,000 to paint the first two floors of Town Hall and to purchase a Christmas tree and decorations for downtown.

“I’ve found out that that money . . . was not in the budget,” Richard Driscoll told Council, “so we’re taking it out of the savings account. The savings account, the way I would look at it, is for true emergencies, not a Christmas tree. So I have to say that I’m disappointed. I thought we lived in a fiscally conservative state. Apparently Winnsboro is not quite as fiscally conservative as I thought it was.

“I’ve also subsequently learned that Council has asked Mr. Wood to look at spending up to $10,000 for security on this building (Town Hall), which has five people in it, and no money, in the sense of the Utility Department isn’t here anymore,” Driscoll continued. “That expense also is going to have to come out of the savings account. I have problems with all three of those, and I’m going to warn you ahead of time I’m going to hound Council for the next two years. Every time you guys spend money that ain’t in the budget, you’re going to hear from me. If you guys can’t budget for it when you put the budget together in the spring, and it ain’t an emergency, then you shouldn’t spend it.”

Just before the meeting adjourned, Councilman Clyde Sanders, who had pressed for the security system, and Mayor Roger Gaddy both said the security system was indeed a budgeted item. Councilman Stan Klaus said after the meeting that the funds for the Town Hall paint job were also in the 2015-2016 budget, while the tree and decorations were from the contingency fund.

Flies

Wood said DHEC was also planning to investigate a report of swarms of flies, flies that Debbie and Dot Shealy said were making their lives miserable. Addressing Council during the public comment segment of the meeting, the Shealys said the flies were emanating either from the reservoir or the pond or pool at Fortune Springs Park, and were entering their home through the water pipes.

Executive Session

After Council’s executive session, in which they discussed the Broad River water line project, water for the Fairfield Commerce Center, progress at the old Mt. Zion school property and zoning issues at the former site of Club 145 at 145 S. Congress St., Gaddy said the Broad River project was on schedule. The engineering studies were currently under way, he said, and the Town has identified properties that will have to be purchased for rights of way. Contracts for the construction of the nearly 9 miles of pipeline, which could bring 8-10 million gallons of water a day to the reservoir, could go out as early as December, Gaddy said.

Winnsboro is also prepared to deliver water to the Fairfield Commerce Center, the County’s new industrial park, when requested, Gaddy said.

Gaddy also said the Town has not seen much activity from the Friends of Mt. Zion Institute (FOMZI) in their efforts to restore the old Mt. Zion school since the windows were repaired last May. The Town sold the property to FOMZI for $5 in March of 2014 with the caveat that the building had to be stabilized to meet Winnsboro’s Dangerous Building Code within 18 months or be torn down.

Although he would not go into detail after executive session, Gaddy did say FOMZI’s deadline was approaching.

Regarding the property at 145 S. Congress St., Gaddy said a potential buyer for the building had questions about local zoning ordinances that Council needed to address, but about that he would also not go into detail.

 

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