Interest still lacking to connect county water to Society Hill

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

Efforts to connect parts of Society Hill to Darlington County water may be circling the drain for another year according to a community meeting held March 3 at Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School.

Residents of the Darlington County town say they’ve been trying to connect to county water for several years but according to Darlington County Water and Sewer Authority officials not enough of the town has shown an interest to make it possible.

Local pastor Matthew Robinson opened the meeting by telling the roughly 17 people in attendance that clean, potable water is a right that everyone should have.

“Every citizen should have the right to have clean water,” Robinson said. “Water that don’t mess up your clothes. In 2018, we shouldn’t have to fight to have water.”

He said that it is not only Society Hill that has water problems.

“From here all the way to Bennettsville is bad water,” Robinson said. “DHEC knows it. They say its drinkable but it will mess up your clothes. We are here today, once again, to talk about means and ways to get water in a rural area.”

During the meeting, Darlington County Water and Sewer Authority’s General Manager Frank Hough said that in order to move ahead with the efforts, a petition of interest must be signed by fifty residents; even after years of the effort, only 35 people have signed on.

“I agree with them, it is our right to have good, clean water in 2018,” Hough said. “That is the process that we are going through this morning. I’m not here to have people pull out their checkbooks and write a check; that is not what this is all about. The government and the legislatures and the people with offices, they have money available to get you water. That is what we are trying to do. We are trying to get grant money that is already available to provide water. In order to do that, they asked for a list of people who is interested in water.”

Hough said that he has been at several similar meetings before and that people in the community need to spread the word.

“They are not just going to start putting in lines on a whim; it is a process,” Hough said. “I think that it would go quicker if we would all pull together and go in one direction, trying to help those who are not here and are not signed up to do so, so we can help everybody. You wouldn’t like it if you had water and your neighbor didn’t have water. I don’t know your circumstances but I feel like everybody needs water but for some reason not everyone is coming to these meetings and signing up.”

The water would be connected coming from Darlington along Rosenwald Road down Society Hill Road back to Greenfield Road, according to Darlington County Water and Sewer Authority officials.

Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School Principal Kimberly Mason said that she has students who live in the area that could be connected and her son has also dealt with some of the water issues in his job.

“I am very concerned,” Mason said. “My son is a plumber and I told him a little bit about what this meeting was about. He recently serviced (a local church) and he said their water is unclean; it is running rusty. They are using some kind of pump system, some of you may be familiar with that, and I just believe in 2018 nobody should be using water that is that troublesome.”

Hough said that he and his staff are doing what they can to move the process along and he asked the community members assembled to help them.

“We’re too close to let this fail,” Hough said. “We’ve got to give this one more shot. The reason it’s taking so long is we get so far and we give up. I’m used to fighting.”

Another community meeting will be held in the Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School Saturday, March 10 at 9 a.m. The school is located at 508 Church Street in Society Hill.

Author: Duane Childers

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