Taylor: No contamination, no ink in Winnsboro water

WINNSBORO – Rumors spread quickly Saturday morning across Blythewood Facebook pages that a Winnsboro water pipe had broken at Palmetto Imaging on Highway 34 and that ink from the business and other contaminants were flowing through Blythewood’s waterlines.

Winnsboro Town Manager Jason Taylor informed The Voice about 11 a.m., Saturday morning that there was no health hazard associated with the sediment residents were currently seeing in their water.

“We encourage people to run their lines a little while and run that sediment out, and the water should clear up. There is no need to boil the water or take other precautions. No water advisory has been issued. The water is fine to drink,” Taylor said.

“I just got off the phone with the water operator and there is nothing wrong with the water except some sediment which is harmless,” he said. “There was a break in the waterline on Highway 34 late on Thursday. They lost approximately three million gallons of water through their fire suppression system. We went down to shut their system off to keep them from continuing to loose water.

“When that three million gallons went through our system, it drew some of our tanks down and basically flushed our system. That’s not a bad thing. We flush our system on a regular basis,” Taylor said. “But the break caused an unexpected, quick flushing of our system and stirred up sediment in the lines.

“That sediment is what residents are seeing in their water right now.” Taylor said, “But it is not dangerous. If residents will let the water run a little while, it will clear up.”

Even after Taylor’s explanation, some residents insisted they had talked directly to the water department employees and were told that ink from the imaging business had gotten into the lines and that even boiling the water would not clean up the ink.

Those residents, it turned out, had actually talked to someone in the public safety department whose advice was mere speculation, a Winnsboro town official told The Voice.

“I think the rumors got started because of the type industry that had the broken line,” Winnsboro Utilities Department Director William Medlin said. “There was the thought that ink and other contaminants had gotten back in the system after the break. But that was totally impossible with that back flow system that was in place.

“The tanks were low, but we didn’t lose water,” Medlin said. ‘We connected with Columbia water to get our tanks filled back up quicker. But anytime you go from one water source to another, it changes the direction of the flow and that can break lose the sediment that had built up on the inside of the pipe,” Medlin said “That’s what caused the tint in the water.”

“But there was not at any time any ink or contamination in the water.” He said.

That information was confirmed by Ron Aiken, DHEC Media Relations Director at the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control.

“According to the Town of Winnsboro, there was no form of contamination as a result of the line breaking at Palmetto Imaging,” Aiken said. “A Boil Water Notice was not required.”

Aiken said DHEC received no calls from the public in this regard.

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