Leak Ups JWC Water Purchase

JENKINSVILLE (March 11, 2016) – Responding to questions from a shareholder at Monday night’s monthly meeting of the Jenkinsville Water Company board of directors, company president Gregrey Ginyard said there was currently a water shortage in Jenkinsville. That ‘shortage,’ additional questions revealed, may in fact have been attributed to a leak in the system that forced the company to purchase approximately 10 times as much outside water as normal.

“We bought a million gallons of water from Mid County (in February),” Ginyard said when asked directly by shareholder Dee Melton if there was a water shortage in Jenkinsville. “So I would say yes, when we were buying less than 100,000 before.”

Ginyard later clarified for The Voice that the Jenkinsville Water Company had actually purchased 1,206,000 gallons from Mid County last month.

News of the ‘shortage’ comes on the heels of the reopening of the Clowney Road well, which should have relieved some of the company’s reliance on Mid County water.

Monday night’s revelation that Jenkinsville Water had purchased more than 1 million gallons of water from Mid County after the reopening of the Clowney Road well prompted Melton to ask if there had been a significant leak in the system.

“There was a leak,” Ginyard answered. “I can’t tell you how many gallons of water. I wasn’t there for the leak but I was notified of a leak.”

The Clowney Road well, Ginyard told members at the annual shareholders meeting in January, was taken off line last September after high levels of radium were found in the water there. A new filtration system was installed at the well, while the company spent a little more than $107,092 with the Mid County Water Company for water to serve Clowney Road customers between September and January.

Broad River Campground

Melton, who has been trying since 2014 to obtain additional water to expand his Broad River Campground on Highway 215 by 49 sites, asked the board Monday how many sites were recently approved for water for a campground owned by newly seated board member Preston Peach. Ginyard said Peach was approved for 12 sites at 175 gallons per site, per day.

Ginyard’s answer prompted the discussion on the water shortage. When Ginyard attributed the shortage to the leak and noted that the Clowney Road well was only recently back in service, indicating that the shortage should be short-lived, Melton again asked the board for water to serve an additional 49 sites at his campground.

“If you’re asking for 49 sites, the board will consider it at 175 gallons per site, same as we did for the other campground,” Ginyard said. “It would have to be calculated at 175 gallons per site, just like Mr. Peach and everybody else, the rest of the campgrounds.”

Ginyard said the board would discuss Melton’s request, provided he could deliver it in writing within the week, at next month’s meeting.

“At our next board meeting we’ll discuss it,” Ginyard said, adding, “I can’t tell you you’ll get an answer then.”

After the meeting, Ginyard said whether or not the company can spare the water would ultimately be up to calculations from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The company could not, Ginyard said, promise water to Melton for 49 sites if it meant depriving other operations water for fewer sites. If the Clowney Road well produces sufficiently, he said, there could be enough water for Melton as well as everyone else.

Melton, who has been locked in a legal battle with the Jenkinsville Water Company since September 2014 over water for the additional sites, told The Voice Tuesday that he was not confident his latest request would be taken seriously.

“I think it’s just another stall tactic,” Melton said.

Melton said he had moved forward and drilled his own well at the campground. The well was producing adequate water, he said, and he would be adding more sites with or without the blessing of the Jenkinsville Water Company.

Why, then, even ask the board for water?

“We just want the water we contracted to have,” said Melton, whose lawsuit alleges that the water company broke its 2009 agreement with the campground. “It makes a difference if we’re not allowed to use the water we contracted to use. It makes a legal difference.”

Ginyard has denied Melton’s allegations, telling The Voice last year that the water company has never told Melton he could not use all of the 8,050 gallons of water per day maximum granted in the 2009 contract.