Broken JWC line prompts ‘boil’ order

JENKINSVILLE – Jenkinsville Water Company has fixed a water line break, though how long water service remained shut off remains a little murky.

Laura Renwick, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), said complaints of low water pressure began late in the day on Thursday, May 27. A break occurred the next day.

“A break in the line was found on May 28, and a boil water advisory was issued by the utility that same day,” Renwick wrote in an email. “Repairs were made to the system also on May 28.”

In a telephone interview, JWC president Greg Ginyard confirmed to The Voice that water line was repaired on Tuesday, May 28.

Renwick with DHEC said that on May 30, the utility followed up by collecting samples, which “came back in the normal range,” and the boil water advisory was lifted.

“No action is being taken by the Department,” Renwick said.

Ginyard said there are no problems with Jenkinsville water. He said whenever there’s a complaint, it’s investigated and typically no problems are found, and if a problem is discovered, it’s promptly fixed.

“There’s nothing wrong with our water,” Ginyard said. “The Jenkinsville Water Company is not giving anybody bad water. All our water is potable. We’re fine, we don’t have any problems.”

In the past, the JWC has faced questions over its water quality.

In March, The Voice and The State newspapers published investigative reports about Jenkinsville water quality.

Public records The Voice obtained from DHEC state the JWC was cited three times in the past five years. The last time was in 2016.

Fairfield County Councilwoman Bertha Goins has also raised water quality issues, specifically relating to Jenkinsville, landing her in hot water with JWC’s legal counsel.

In March, attorneys for the JWC threatened to sue her, issuing a cease and desist order.

“If you continue to make such false and defamatory statements, I have been instructed to take all legal steps to enforce my client’s rights including filing suit against you, for injunctive relief, slander and defamation seeking all damages allowed by law,” JWC lawyers stated in a letter.

Goins has said the JWC is trying to stifle her right to free speech. At the April 8 council meeting, she said in a prepared statement she blamed her husband’s illness in part on Jenkinsville water.

County Attorney Tommy Morgan, acting in a private capacity, authored a response letter to JWC attorneys, saying Goins “categorically denies” making false and defamatory statements, and that she has a right to free speech.

“This threat of legal action is not going to stop Ms. Goins,” Morgan said.

Jenkinsville Water Company has also claimed Fairfield County was trying to coerce the water company into joining the recently created Fairfield County-Town of Winnsboro water authority.

“JWC has no interest in being absorbed by a bigger water system,” the JWC said in a letter to its members. “When smaller water companies are taken over by a larger water system that historically results in rate increases between 100% and 150%. We are committed to not letting this happen to JWC members.”