S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials Doug Kinard and Sonya Johnson, water program manager for region three, were among those on hand for the August Jenkinsville Water Company meeting to address recent violations.
Prior to the meeting, Jenkinsville Water Company Chairman Gregory Ginyard and Water Systems Operator James Green met with the officials in response to maximum containment violations in a July E.Coli. incident where DHEC was not notified within a 24-hour time period of the positive test results as procedure requires.
Kinard said that no decision had been made about sanctions against the company and that the enforcement process is ongoing.
An enforcement order could come as a consent order, or draft order, which the water company could sign and agree to either corrective action and/or penalties. Another option would be an administrative order to be issued which the company could appeal.
Kinard said that the total coliform measures indicated corrections needed to be made to the system in July but he reassured residents that Jenkinsville water is now safe to drink.
The water company performs once-a-month sampling from a DHEC approved list of customers. The chlorine and PH levels are tested daily on the company wells, also.
Ginyard theorized that the E.Coli might have resulted from lab error since the second test of the well showed no E. Coli was present.
Water board member Willie Robinson said that in the future the board needed to be promptly notified of any potential problems, rather than board members learning of it from the evening news.
DHEC officials said they would help ensure that any boiled water advisories were issued to print and television media outlets in the future.
Vice chairman Joseph McBride, claimed that when he heard about the situation, he took action but that issuing a boil water advisory never crossed his mind.
According to Ginyard, Green was informed July 5 about the presence of total coliform and E. Coli in Jenkinsville water.
The process requires re-samples to be taken and for Green to send out a notice of the original positive test results within 24 hours. That notice was not posted until after the 24-hour period had elapsed.
Concerned citizen and water company member, Jeff Schaffer, had legal counsel present who questioned among other things about Ginyard’s being on vacation during the E.Coli incident and if the breakdown in communication was as it appeared.
Schaffer’s lawyer also questioned about the financial practices of the company from 2009 to present but got little response from Ginyard to those questions or to requests for documentation of tax records and company profits.
As chairman of the water board Ginyard said he was not certified to check lines, so he delegated the duty to the man the company hired, Green. Robinson disputed that claim, alleging that Ginyard actually did the vetting and hiring as opposed to the entire board.
According to Ginyard, Green is certified by the South Carolina Department of Labor with a distribution license in water and distribution, the ability to maintain the system and to perform repairs.
“He is a great worker who made a mistake but who we have had no problem with in 3-and-a-half years. I am not about to crucify him for it,” Ginyard said.
Ginyard said that Green’s first course of action when learning of a problem of this nature would be to make the water safe. Notifying him would be secondary.
Green said he received an email from Data Resources, the company that does Jenkinsville’s water testing and tried that day around 3 p.m. to contact DHEC.
He claimed was unable to reach Wendi Smith with DHEC drinking water compliance monitoring by phone and email.
Green answers to the water company board of trustees for his job performance.
The water company withdrew into executive session to discuss legal matters and a personnel matter.
In other news, concerned citizens can now read the June and July minutes and monthly statements from the Jenkinsville Water Company by visiting www.jenkinsvillewater.com.
Due to the Labor Day holiday, the next Jenkinsville water company meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.