Fanning, McDaniel laud JWC water

Jenkinsville Water Company board members. | Barbara Ball

WINNSBORO – The Jenkinsville Water Company’s president Greg Ginyard was awash in adulation during the company’s annual meeting last week.

Ginyard announced that the company’s water had, for the second time in two years, received the “Best Tasting Water in SC award.”  This, despite facing multiple DHEC violations citing tainted water supplies.

Sen. Mike Fanning D-Great Falls and House Rep. Annie McDaniels were on hand to call upon the name of the Senate and House to shower Ginyard with praise over the award which had been handed out by the S.C. Rural Water Association (RWA) at its annual meeting in October.

“It is well known at the Statehouse that you kept up with the legislation concerning water companies and districts and that you keep others well-informed while fighting for growth and quality,” Fanning said, reading from a framed personal letter signed by himself that he presented to Ginyard.

Fanning’s praise comes amid JWC facing multiple water quality violations, including one this past summer noting radioactivity in the water supply.

It is at least the fourth violation in the past five years, according to agency records obtained by The Voice.

On several occasions during the past year, JWC members have brought water samples to public meetings to support their claims that the water from their JWC taps is murky and bad tasting.

It turns out that the rules and standards for RWA’s water tasting contest are equally murky.

“Whoever wants to can bring their water samples [to the annual meeting] and they are judged on taste, clarity and a few other things,” Amy Kinard, events and marketing coordinator with the RWA, said.

“We have about four people who are in the water industry who served as judges this year,” Kinyard said.

Of RWA’s 240 member water companies, she said only about 5 or 6 entered the taste-test contest that JWC won.

She confirmed that RWA has no specific standards for the contest and does not test the water samples that are entered for competition. She said RWA leaves it to the contest entrants to collect their own samples and bring them in for taste testing.

Kinard acknowledged that winners aren’t required to authenticate the source of their drinking water samples.

“We give them the benefit of the doubt,” she said. “We take them at their word. They’re members of our organization.”

Compliance with DHEC drinking standards isn’t listed among the RWA’s award guidelines.

In other business, Ginyard read aloud the company’s annual financial statement, but did not make copies available to the members.

When asked by The Voice for a copy of the financial statement, explaining that it’s a public record, Ginyard refused, saying he would have to contact his board members at a later time to ask if he could provide it.

Ginyard also noted that JWC dug a new well last year at a cost of $800,000, paid cash for a new truck, had investment earnings of $67,085 and a cash and investment balance of $239,386.

During the meeting, members re-elected the following board members to their seats: Greg Ginyard, Tim Yarborough, Tangee Brice Jacobs and Jerald Smith. Clemart Camack was elected to replace board member Preston Peach who resigned last month after serving four years.

Following the meeting, board members sequestered themselves in a back room without a prior vote to go into executive session as required by S. C. statute. When board members came out a few minutes later, Ginyard announced that they had elected officers among themselves while behind closed doors, a clear violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Act, which states: “To adjourn into executive session, a vote must be taken in public. The only actions that can be taken in executive sessions [behind closed doors] are to adjourn or return to public session.”

Barbara Ball contributed to this story.