Citizens complain about water

Clogged water pipes, stained clothes, stains in washing machines, corroded bathroom facilities and health issues are just a few of the problems residents of the Hunters Chapel Road-Spring Branch Community near Family Circle Drive said they are experiencing because of the water.

“We’re asking ya’ll to find a way to get city water to us,” said Gregory Bamberg who acted as a spokesperson for the residents of the community located approximately one mile out of Bamberg on Hunters Chapel Road. Bamberg noted in his presentation before county council that the Midway Community had access to city water and “they are further out then we are.”

Bamberg used a slide presentation to present to council members the problems the residents were having with their water to the extent that he said residents of the community had started to purchase their own water.

Joyce Bolen Hayes of Bamberg stated that a candidate running for county council office (that she did not name) told members of the community if elected to office the residents of the community would see improvements to their water system. “That’swhywe’re on your door steps,” Bolen Hayes said.

Bamberg County Council Chairwoman Alzena Robinson said that council was willing to help the residents with their problem, but they (community members) had to be willing to go through a process of getting improvements to their water supply.

“We’re going to try to work with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG),” Robinson said adding “it’s going to take time. We’re hoping we can help. We have to start the process. We’re willing to arrange a meeting with (LSCOG). The residents of the community will have to determine if they want to go through the process.”

County Councilman Chris Wilson said that the county “was not in the water and sewer business at all” and the Board of Public Works (BPW) would extend water lines to the area “if they could make money.” Wilson added “we’re talking about getting grants- Community Development Block Grants (CDBs).

Bamberg County Administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott noted that part of the process the residents would have to go through was a water survey by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) that would require a “door-to-door survey”. And she said a meeting would have to be setup with officials from (LSCOG) and (BPW). “We’re moving forward with it- getting a meeting set up with (BPW) and (LSCOG).”

Also during the meeting:

• Bamberg County Hospital Administrator Carl Menist reported that the hospital sustained its third consecutive month of losses as a result of lower patient volume.

The hospital recorded a $26,000 loss in the month of August. On the positive side expenses for July were down $33,000 and were $118,000 less than last year this time. Overall expenses at the hospital are $300,000 less than last year at this time. For the year the facility recorded a $541,000 profit.

“We’re not particularly worried,” Menist said. “We’ve flexed our staff based on volume. We’re putting together a plan to have some savings in preceding months.”

• It was reported in the county’s finance report that Year- To-Date 11 percent of the county’s budget for the fiscal year had been “exhausted” with collections totaling $1,111,145. Council approved a bid from Hilda S.C.- based J. Arnold & Associates for $88,000 for work on the roof at the Department of Social Services building.